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Former Bangladesh minister sentenced to 7 years for corruption

[JURIST] A court in Bangladesh Thursday sentenced former state minister for communications Salahuddin Ahmed to seven years in prison on corruption charges. Ahbed was arrested in February 2007 and found guilty of accepting a bribe for a business contract. The arrest comes one day after Tarique Rahman [party profile, in Bengali], the elder son of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia [UN profile] who also faces corruption charges [JURIST report], said that he was tortured during questioning in police custody.

The current interim government in Bangladesh has arrested over 150 high-profile citizens since the military-backed government declared a state of emergency [JURIST report; AHRC backgrounder] in January 2007 over concerns that fraud would mar scheduled national elections. Zia has been charged with corruption [JURIST report], and her rival, former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed [party profile] has been charged by Bangladesh's anti-corruption commission [governing statute, PDF] with six counts of murder, corruption, and most recently, bribery [JURIST reports]. Hasina went on trial [JURIST report] in December 2007 on one of two charges [Reuters report] that she extorted around $1.16 million from two businessmen. BBC News has more.

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