Bangladesh ex-PM Khaleda Zia proclaims innocence ahead of graft verdict


DHAKA: Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia proclaimed on Wednesday her innocence on the eve of a verdict that authorities fear could spark violence if the former prime minister is jailed for corruption.

Police have banned street protests and rounded up what opposition figures say is thousands of their supporters in a crackdown ahead of Thursday’s court ruling in the capital, Dhaka. A guilty verdict could prevent Zia, a former ally turned arch-nemesis of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, from contesting a general election slated for December.

Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for Zia — a two-time former prime minister and head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party — for allegedly embezzling 21 million taka ($252,000) through a charity trust fund.




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