Former Bangladeshi Leader Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges.

Zia, 72, accepted the verdict on Thursday in a court in the capital Dhaka. He was found guilty of embezzling $ 250,000 from a trust fund reserved for an orphanage during his tenure as prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

Zia's son Tarique Rahman and four others found guilty in the case were sentenced to 10 years in jail for their involvement in the crime. Zia's son lives in exile in London.

The verdict forbade Zia, the head of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, to run for national elections set for December. His lawyers denounced the case as politically motivated.

Thousands of Zia supporters took to the streets of Dhaka ahead of Thursday's hearing and followed a motorcade that brought Zia to court, despite riot police deployed in

Bangladesh's political stage for decades is dominated by fierce competition between Zia and current prime minister Sheikh Hasina. [uh]

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