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Bangladesh bans demonstrations following arrest protests

[JURIST] The government of Bangladesh on Wednesday reinstated a state of emergency banning political demonstrations in the country for two weeks. The ban had recently been lifted after being imposed [JURIST report] in 2007, but was reissued in response to violent protests [BDNews24 report] coordinated by the Jamaat-e-Islami party [party website] after party leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed were arrested on corruption charges [Daily Star report; JURIST report] related to a coal mining contract on Monday. The men have since been released on bail [New Nation report]. The Bangladeshi Ministry of Home Affairs [official website], which issued the state of emergency, said the ban on political rallies would be lifted on November 27, but that other state of emergency restrictions would stay in place at least until the country's elections are held on December 18. AFP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

On Tuesday, two Bangladesh cabinet members arrested in 2007 [JURIST report] for other corruption charges were also released on bail [JURIST report]. They were arrested as part of the government's anti-corruption campaign [JURIST news archive] and have ties to the former Bangladeshi prime minister Bengum Khaleda Zia [UN profile]. In May, Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) [governing statute, PDF] filed formal corruption and abuse of power charges [JURIST report] against Zia for an alleged kickback related to gas contracts. Bangladesh's current anti-corruption campaign began in February 2007 as eight former Bangladeshi ministers were accused of corruption and 13 other former ministers and senior politicians were arrested in raids on their homes [JURIST reports]. Zia and her son were arrested on suspicion of corruption [JURIST report] in September.

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