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US urges Bangladesh to ensure fair trial for Khaleda Zia

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

The US has urged to ensure "fair trial" for ex-who was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment for corruption.

The 72-year-old three-time former and Bangladesh's main opposition was sentenced by Dhaka's Special Court in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about USD 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a

"We are aware of the conviction of Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia, and encourage to the guarantee of a fair trial," a State Department said.

The verdict simultaneously sentenced Zia's "fugitive" elder son and (BNP's) senior vice president as he was tried in absentia. Rahman and four others have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Zia and three of her aides were accused of syphoning off about USD 400,000 from the alone. She is also accused of leading a group of five people in embezzling another USD 277,000 funds.

"We are concerned by reported arrests of opposition members. We encourage the of Bangladesh to ensure fair trial guarantees for all of its individuals in Bangladesh," the said.

The State Department also called on the of Bangladesh to respect the rights of all individuals to gather peacefully and to freely express their opinions.

"We continue to call upon the of Bangladesh to provide the right to all individuals to freely express their political views, without fear of reprisal, and to hold elections that are free, fair, peaceful, and credible, reflecting the will of the Bangladeshi people," the said.

"We also call on members of society to act peacefully and responsibly. We stress that all sides must eschew violence; violence hinders democratic processes," the spokesperson added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 06:05 IST