Bangladesh court sentences opposition leader to 9 years in prison

Bangladesh court sentences opposition leader to 9 years in prison

Main opposition BNP terms jail terms of leader Tarique Rahman, his wife politically motivated

By SM Najmus Sakib

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - A court in Bangladesh on Wednesday sentenced in absentia the country's main opposition leader to nine years in prison.

This is the fifth time courts in the South Asian nation have handed jail time to Tarique Rahman, acting chairman of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP).

Wednesday's ruling also handed Rahman's wife Zubaida Rahman three years in a graft case.

The couple has been living in the UK since 2008.

They were convicted on the count of acquiring wealth beyond known income sources.

The court also gave orders to confiscate Tarique’s assets of over 20.74 million takas ($189,483).

The BNP decried the ruling, terming it political victimization ahead of the general elections slated for December.

Meanwhile, the US and its Western allies are also increasing pressure on the Bangladesh government to hold free and participatory elections as the last two national elections were allegedly marred by vote rigging.

The government, however, views Western calls as foreign intervention in internal affairs.

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