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Bangladesh Former PM jailed for stealing food from orphans

FORMER Bangladeshi prime minister Khaleda Zia was jailed for five years yesterday by a court in Dhaka for stealing food out of orphans’ mouths.

The conviction could prevent her challenging Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed in elections due in December.

Ms Zia was convicted of embezzling some £180,000 in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she first became prime minister in 1991.

She was taken under heavy security to a prison in the capital.

Judge Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman also sentenced Ms Zia’s son Tarique Rahman and four others to 10 years behind bars for involvement in the case.

Defence lawyer Mahbubuddin Khokan said Ms Zia had ordered him to appeal. “This is unbelievable,” he said. “I am confident she will come out of jail.”

Bangladeshi law says anyone imprisoned for more than two years cannot stand for office for the next five years, but Law Minister Anisul Huq said the final decision rested with the courts.

“It’s up to the appeals court to decide whether she will be eligible to run,” he said after the verdict.

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