Bangladesh court bars ex-PM from contesting election

Khaleda Zia, leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was prime minister twice and was sentenced in February on corruption charges. (Reuters)
Updated 27 November 2018

Bangladesh court bars ex-PM from contesting election

  • Khaleda Zia and other senior BNP figures imprisoned for corruption had appealed to have their convictions suspended so they could contest next month’s general elections
  • Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told media after the verdict that a convict can only qualify as a candidate once five years have elapsed since the completion of their jail term

DHAKA: Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia cannot contest upcoming elections because of her five-year jail term, the country’s High Court ruled on Tuesday.

Zia, who leads the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was prime minister twice and was sentenced in February on corruption charges.

She and other senior BNP figures imprisoned for corruption had appealed to have their convictions suspended so they could contest next month’s general elections.

But the High Court said those with jail terms of more than two years are ineligible to run even if they have appeals pending.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told media after the verdict that a convict can only qualify as a candidate once five years have elapsed since the completion of their jail term.

The BNP figures were given terms ranging from eight to 20 years in different corruption cases.

Alam said their suspension requests were filed before any court had overturned their convictions.

He was asked about a ruling party minister who was acquitted last month by the High Court on a corruption charge.

Alam said he did not know what arguments had been made for Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya at the High Court, but the constitution is clear on electoral candidates and criminal convictions.

Maya was sentenced a decade ago. Alam said five years had yet to pass since the completion of the jail term.


Japan’s Abe says he will meet Iran’s Rouhani this month in NY

Updated 30 min 57 sec ago

Japan’s Abe says he will meet Iran’s Rouhani this month in NY

  • Abe added that he would travel to Belgium after the UNGA session
  • He is also meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday he would meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the end of the month, as regional tensions rise in the Middle East after the weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities, public broadcaster NHK said.
It was during a meeting with members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that Abe repeated his intention of speaking with Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, according to NHK.
Abe added that he would travel to Belgium after the UNGA session and meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, NHK said.