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Bangladesh police arrest more politicians in anti-corruption drive

[JURIST] Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] police have arrested dozens of politicians since Friday in a renewed anti-corruption drive. The drive comes amid an even wider crackdown [Daily Star report] in which authorities have arrested more than 1,600 political activists and suspected criminals. On Sunday, a judge issued arrest warrants [Daily Star report] for electricity supply leaders on charges of corruption, extending the drive through the weekend. The country has sought new ways to handle corruption: late last month, the government approved the creation of a Truth and Accountability Commission [JURIST report] that would allow corrupt officials and businessmen guilty of corruption to avoid jail by confessing and returning money taken. The commission is designed to ease the burden on the country's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) [governing statute; JURIST news archive], which faces a huge backlog and which government officials say could take decades to prosecute all of the offenders. BBC News has more.

Bangladesh's current anti-corruption crackdown began after President Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] in the country and canceled a scheduled national election in January 2007. Eight former Bangladeshi ministers were subsequently accused of corruption and 13 other former ministers and senior politicians were arrested during raids on their homes [JURIST reports]. Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina [party profile; JURIST news archive] faces corruption charges for receiving illegal kick-backs from both a power-plant construction deal and oil and gas contracts [JURIST reports]. Former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia [UN profile] also faces charges related to oil and gas contracts [JURIST report] and was taken to court [Reuters report] on those charges Sunday.

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