Graft cases against Hasina, Zia being reviewed

May 11th, 2009 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, May 11 (IANS) While Bangladesh’s courts hear the government recommendation that 11 cases against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina be dropped, a senior law officer Monday began scrutiny of documents relating to 20 graft cases against opposition leader Khaleda Zia and her family.
The cases were instituted by the military-backed caretaker government that ruled the country 2007-08. Both the women leaders were in jail for several months.

Hasina, who is Awami League chief, and Khaleda, who heads the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have said the charges were “politically motivated” and meant to deny them freedom as well as keep them away from their political associates.

The government’s law officer, recommending that cases against Hasina be dropped, has said that they were filed to “tarnish the image of the Awami League chief (Hasina) and her previous government”.

Hasina was the prime minister during 1996-2001. Zia ruled twice during 1991-96 and 2001-06.

Recommendations by the Metropolitan Public Prosecutor will be sent regarding Zia’s cases to the home ministry for scrutiny before being sent to the court, the Daily Star said Monday.

On April 30, Khaleda Zia and her two sons, Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko, filed petitions with the Dhaka district magistrate for withdrawal of 20 cases filed against them.

Since the government’s announcement to review “politically filed” cases, around 1,300 petitions have been filed with district magistrates seeking their withdrawal.

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