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Bangladesh bans all politicial activity following new corruption arrests

[JURIST] The Bangladeshi interim government issued a complete ban on political activities late Thursday, stating that "the government will take stern action against anyone who breaches" the order. The announcement, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, expands the January 11 state of emergency [JURIST report] order by President Iajuddin Ahmed [Wikipedia profile], which prohibited street protests, public meetings or gatherings, but did not prohibit "indoor political activities." In addition, police have been given four days to question Tareque Rahman [party profile, Bengali], son of slain former president Ziaur Rahman and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website] leader Khaleda Zia. Rahman is accused of being involved in a $186,000 extortion scheme. Rahman, a senior member in the BNP who was widely expected to succeed his mother, was arrested Thursday in Dhaka.

In recent weeks, government security forces have arrested more than 60 politicians [JURIST news archive], mostly members of the BNP and the Awami League [party website]. Several major corruption trials are slated to begin later this month [JURIST report]. Transparency International [advocacy website] has listed Bangladesh as one of the world's most corrupt states. The interim government mandated by the constitution prior to a scheduled national poll has promised to hold elections which were canceled following the January 11 order, but no date has been set. AFP has more.

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