Monday, July 16, 2007

Bangladesh arrests former PM Hasina

Former Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina was arrested in the capital on Monday and sent to jail to face extortion charges in a move that sparked protests by her supporters in several parts of the country, with police firing rubber bullets at demonstrators in Dhaka.
As there was a huge outcry across the country against the arrest, head of Bangladesh's army-backed interim government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, said no-one in the country was above law.
"Anyone involved in corruption will be tracked down and prosecuted," he said yesterday after the arrest.
Hasina, daughter of Bangladesh's assassinated Liberation Was hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is facing graft cases besides corruption allegations revealed by her top party leaders which say she misused power during her stint as prime minister while her party Awami League was in power (1996-2001).
"She has been arrested on ... charges of extortion and the law will take its own course," Mainul Husein, an adviser to the interim government and head of the law and information ministries, told reporters.
Hasina, who has been leading the party since 1981, has denied the charges and found reasons to consider the arrest as a conspiracy.
"It's a sheer conspiracy to expel me from politics. Neither myself nor my family were ever involved in any sort of corruption," a lawyer quoted Hasina as telling the court.
While Hasina was on a U.S. tour, the government, on April 18, banned her return to Bangladesh. They however withdrew the an in face of local and international pressure and Hasina returned to the country in May.
When Hasina a day before Hasina was supposed to fly to the U.S. to see her expecting daughter, the government put restriction on her flying out of the country, and she was virtually remaining under house-arrest.
After her arrest, police searched Hasina's home, seized her bullet-proof vehicle, two computers and various documents relating to her bank accounts and party publications.
Hasina supporters clashed with police in the capital and tried to stop a motorcade taking her to jail.
The Daily Star story

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