BNP names Tarique Rahman acting head

Agence France-Presse | Published: 19:04, Feb 09,2018

Tarique Rahman

Tarique Rahman. — Focusbangla file photo

Bangladesh Nationalist Party named the exiled eldest son of Khaleda Zia as its acting head on Friday, a day after a court jailed its leader for corruption.

Khaleda Zia, 72, spent the night in jail after she was sentenced to five years by the Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-5 in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

Her son Tarique Rahman, who was also found guilty of involvement in but escaped prison because he lives in London, will be the party's interim leader.

‘He is the new acting chairman in accordance with the party's constitution,’ BNP secretary-general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told AFP.

The conviction could prevent Khaleda from running in a general election slated for December, although she is expected to appeal.

She spent the night in what her party officials say is a disused jail in the old part of Dhaka.

‘She is in isolation,’ said Alamgir, adding that her conviction is ‘part of a government blueprint to establish one-party rule’.

Tarique Rahman, 53, fled to London in 2008 after he was detained by an army-backed government for more than 18 months.

In 2016, he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of money laundering.

Prosecutors have also sought his death sentence over a 2004 grenade attack at a rally of current prime minister Sheikh Hasina in which more than 20 people were killed and she was injured.

Khaleda is a former ally turned arch-foe of Hasina. Her party boycotted 2014 polls in which Hasina was re-elected but is expected to contest the upcoming general election.

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