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Bangladesh court orders former PM to stand trial for corruption

[JURIST] Bangladesh's High Court ruled Wednesday that former prime minister Khaleda Zia [Forbes profile; JURIST news archive] must stand trial on corruption charges. Zia and three other members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have been accused of embezzling funds [JURIST report] from a charitable trust named after Zia's deceased husband, former president Ziaur Rahman [NYT obituary]. The court rejected [AFP report] Zia's attempt to halt the trial, which was scheduled to begin Monday. Her lawyer now plans an appeal to the country's Supreme Court.

The political situation in Bangladesh has been tense in recent months following BNP's boycott of January elections that were marked [Al Jazeera report] by considerable violence and returned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina [official website] to power. In February a former Bangladeshi minister from the Jatiya party [party website, in Bengali] was indicted [JURIST report] by a Dhaka tribunal for crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [Bangladesh News backgrounder] with Pakistan. Also in February Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] issued a statement [JURIST report] demanding that the Bangladesh government do more to prevent garment factory owners from intimidating workers for organizing trade unions and to prosecute any parties responsible for attacks on labor leaders.

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