Khaleda Zia sued for 42 murders

Khaleda Zia sued for 42 murders
Updated 03 February 2015

Khaleda Zia sued for 42 murders

Khaleda Zia sued for 42 murders

DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities Monday ordered a probe into allegations of murder against former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and arrested a media magnate as two more people were shot dead in spiralling political unrest.
Although experts said it was unlikely that the accusations filed in a private lawsuit would result in charges against Zia, they will add to the pressure on the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader who has been struggling to topple the government through a transport blockade.
The order by a magistrate for police to probe the allegations came hours after the owner of a private television channel was arrested after a meeting with Zia in her Dhaka headquarters.
“Metropolitan Magistrate Atiqur Rahman ordered the Gulshan police in Dhaka to investigate the complaint and submit a report by March 1,” Ashiqur Rahman, a court official, told AFP.
A lawyer for the plaintiff, pro-government activist A. B. Siddiqi, said Zia was responsible for the death of 42 people killed after opposition activists firebombed buses and trucks in a wave of protests.
“She is to blame for the death of 42 innocent people as she ordered her supporters to attack vehicles with petrol bombs,” said lawyer Roushonara Sikder Daizy.
The 69-year-old leader, who has been holed up in her office since Jan. 3, has already been charged by police with lesser crimes including “abetting” and “instigating” the firebombings.
Zia called the protests early last month. She urged supporters to enforce a nationwide blockade of roads, railways and waterways to try to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to call a fresh general election.
The opposition boycotted the last poll in January 2014 on the grounds the result would be rigged.
The protests have triggered widespread violence that left at least 46 people dead — mostly victims of firebombing attacks on buses and lorries.
In the latest deaths, two activists from the BNP-allied Jamaat-e-Islami party were shot dead allegedly by police, including a 23-year-old student.
More than 10,000 opposition activists have been arrested, including dozens of front-rank officials. Others have gone into hiding.