NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladesh's High Court on Thursday sentenced a son of the country's top opposition leader to seven years in jail in a money laundering case, overturning an acquittal by a lower court.
Tarique Rahman lives in exile but remains an opposition figure and heir apparent to his mother, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, whose rivalry with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina runs deeps and strong in Bangladesh.
Defense lawyer Zainul Abedin said the court also fined him 200 million takas ($2.54 million). Abedin said they have not decided if they will appeal to the Supreme Court.
A Dhaka trial court in 2013 acquitted Rahman of charges that he and a businessman friend siphoned off 204.1 million takas to Singapore between 2003 and 2007.
Rahman, the senior vice chairman of Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was arrested on various corruption charges in 2007 during a state of emergency under a military-backed caretaker government after his mother dithered on handing over power peacefully at the end of her five-year rule. He has lived in London since 2008 after securing bail on medical grounds.
The court ordered authorities to take steps to bring him back, but Bangladesh does not have an extradition treaty with Britain.
The ruling is the latest challenge to Zia and her son as their party has struggled to build an effective anti-government movement amid low confidence and a crackdown on the party by the government.
Lawyers said the court upheld a seven-year jail term for Rahman's friend, Giasuddin Al Mamun, given by the trial court in 2013. He is in prison.