Former Bangladesh PM arrested

Sheikh Hasina is detained while Khaleda Zia is also ordered to appear in court.

    Hasina was charged with murder in April, charges that were later withdrawn [AFP]

    Denial

    She was denied bail. Khasru said Hasina has been accused of extorting around $441,000 from a company in return for allowing it to build a power station while she was in office.

    Hasina has denied all the charges against her, saying they are aimed at keeping her from contesting the next elections.

    Local television broadcast images of hundreds of security force members surrounding Hasina's residence.

    Meanwhile Khaleda Zia's lawyer said "the Dhaka metropolitan magistrates' court issued a summons on Monday against Khaleda Zia and 10 others for failing to pay taxes  for a company that she owns."

    Mohammad Sanaullah said Zia, who led Bangladesh twice from 1991-1996 and again from 2001-2006, must appear by August 26.

    Bangladesh is still under a state of emergency imposed by an army-backed interim administration which took charge in January.

    The government launched a crackdown on politicians ahead of elections planned for late next year and Hasina has been barred from leaving the country.

    Political violence

    In April, police charged Hasina with abetting in the murder of four political opponents, and a court issued a warrant for her arrest on that charge but it was later withdrawn.

    The charge involved the deaths of four protesters during a riot in October at one of a series of demonstrations by her Awami League party.

    A bitter feud between the country's two major political camps - led by Hasina and her archrival and another former prime minister Khaleda Zia - ahead of scheduled elections earlier this year led to weeks of deadly street protests in which 34 people were killed.

    The violence forced the interim government tasked with overseeing the elections to cancel the polls and declare a state of emergency.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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