Bangladeshi court orders former premier Zia's arrest

Bangladeshi court orders former premier Zias arrest

Dhaka: A Bangladeshi court on Thursday ordered the arrest of former prime minister Khaleda Zia for skipping a scheduled appearance as the main accused in a graft case, the third such warrant issued against the country's main opposition BNP chief in less than two months.

Court officials said 72-year-old Zia was supposed to resume delivering her unfinished statement defending herself before the Dhaka's Fifth Special Court in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.
However, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) instead announced a country-wide demonstration where it called the court order "politically motivated" and a part of a plan by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League-led government.
"The judge (of Dhaka's Fifth Special Court) issued the arrest warrant as she failed to appear as scheduled in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case once again," a court official said.
This was the third such warrant against the ex-premier since October 10 when two courts in Dhaka separately ordered her arrest after she failed to appear before them as she was in London on a private visit.
She subsequently obtained bail, surrendering before the courts on her return home, he said. Zia earlier claimed that cases filed against her to be "false, motivated and imaginary made up" and aimed at harassing her.
She is accused in several graft cases, including one under which she allegedly misappropriated funds of an orphanage trust named after her husband and slain president Ziaur Rahman.
Zia is also being tried in another case for inducting in her cabinet during the 2001-2006 tenure people who were opposed to the country's 1971 independence and subsequently convicted and hanged for committing war crimes.



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