Bangladesh’s ex-PM gets time to face court over graft charges

A special court in Bangladesh on Thursday asked former prime minister Khaleda Zia to appear before it on June 23 for hearing in a graft case, after accepting her request for more time.
If convicted, Khaleda could be barred from contesting national polls, due in 2019.
The case involves charges of embezzlement to the tune of $400,000 in setting up a charity–Zia Charitable Trust– named after her late husband and former President Ziaur Rahman in 2001-2006.
The opposition leader appeared as directed by special court judge Abu Ahmed Jamader for her “self defence” in the case, which is politically crucial for her and her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
She did not take part in the hearing, and sought a new date in the trial court as she was separately seeking intervention of the Supreme Court for her case to be scrapped.
The special court has been dealing with the case, but Khaleda challenged its legality in the High Court, which rejected her appeal in April, and gave a go-ahead for prosecuting her.
Khaleda wanted the case to be scrapped, saying that it has legal weaknesses and is politically motivated. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has rejected the allegation.

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