Judge grants delay in graft trial for Bangladesh's ex-PM Zia

AP News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2016 7:57 AM
Judge grants delay in graft trial for Bangladesh's ex-PM Zia

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A judge Thursday postponed the trial of Bangladesh's former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia while she asks the country's top court to stop her prosecution in the graft and abuse of authority case.

She appeared in court as trial Judge Abu Ahmed Jamader delayed the trial until later this month and allowed Zia time to take the issue to the Supreme Court.

Prosecutors say shady sources supplied $400,000 that Zia and her aides used to set up a charitable trust named after her late husband and former President Ziaur Rahman while she was prime minister from 2001 to 2006. Zia is currently the main opposition leader.

Zia and her Bangladesh Nationalist Party say the charges against her are politically motivated. But the government says there was credible evidence to prosecute her.

Her arguments to the court cite legal deficiencies in the complaint against her. The High Court, an appeals court, earlier rejected her plea to scrap the trial proceedings in the case filed by the anti-corruption commission in 2011.

Zia is the archrival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whose government has accused Zia's party of supporting religious radicals it blames for recent attacks on bloggers, minority Shiites, Christians and foreigners.

If convicted, Zia could be jailed for up to 10 years and barred from contesting the 2019 national elections.