A BANGLADESHI court ordered the arrest of opposition leader Khaleda Zia today over the 2015 torching of a bus that cost eight lives.
Comilla district court magistrate Joynab Begum issued a warrant for former prime minister Ms Zia and 54 other members of her Bangladesh National Party (BNP) after they failed to attend a packed hearing.
Public Prosecutor Mostafizur Rahman Liton said: “The court ordered arrests of 55, including Khaleda Zia, as they did not appear.”
“Twenty other defendants who attended the hearing were granted bail.”
Three more suspects, including Comilla BNP MP MK Anwar, have since died, Mr Liton said.
Prosecutors accused Ms Zia and the others of responsibility for the horrific arson attack in February 2015 on a bus during a three-month nationwide road blockade that left more than 10 dead.
The blockade was part of the BNP bid to bring down the Awami League government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed.
A barrister for the prosecution said after the order was issued it would ask the court to indict the defendants.
On Monday Chief Prosecutor Syed Rezaur Rahman demanded the death penalty for Ms Zia’s son Tarique Rahman, who has sought refuge in London, for a 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally while Ms Zia was in power that killed more than 20 and wounded Ms Hasina.
The prosecutor said the attack was planned in Mr Rahman’s office at the BNP headquarters, adding: “He assured all sorts of administrative and monetary help to the killers.”
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