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Bangladesh likely to extend former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's suspended prison term by six months

The government in March released the 74-year-old leader for six months on condition that she would stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, receive treatment and not travel abroad.

Published: 04th September 2020 12:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2020 12:04 AM   |  A+A-

Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia (File photo | AP)

By PTI

DHAKA: Bangladesh is likely to extend the suspended prison term of the main opposition leader Khaleda Zia for another six months, days after her family sought the extension for the former prime minister's treatment.

The government in March released the 74-year-old leader for six months on condition that she would stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, receive treatment and not travel abroad.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief is serving a 17-year prison term in two graft cases since February 8, 2018.

Zia's family filed a plea with the government on August 25 for an extension of the suspended prison sentence as the six months allotted to her in March will end on September 24.

"We gave clearance to a proposal for extending her (Khaleda Zia) suspended prison term," a law ministry spokesman told PTI.

The official, however, said that in line with official procedures, the proposal for the extension came from the home ministry which would now be forwarded to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for final approval.

The government had allowed her temporary release on "humanitarian grounds" at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic after her brother and sister met Hasina.

Zia served thrice as the premier since 1991.

Her party was routed in the 2018 election, bagging only six seats in 300-seat Parliament.

Her conviction on "moral turpitude" charges barred her from contesting the polls.

She was sent to jail in February 2018 by a local court on charges of embezzling foreign donations meant for an orphanage, named after her slain husband and president Ziaur Rehman, during her premiership between 2001 and 2006.

Rehman, a military ruler-turned-politician, was the founder of the BNP.

She was convicted in another corruption case later the same year, though her party claims both cases are politically motivated.



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