[JURIST] Bangladesh's Fifth Special Judge's Court of Dhaka found former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia guilty of corruption and sentenced her to five years in prison on Thursday.
She was convicted [Independent report] of embezzling close to USD $250,000 in donations for a trust that was established for orphanages during her 2001-2006 term.
The court gave [BDNews24 report] Zia's son, Tarique Rahman, and four associates longer sentences of 10 years each and ordered them to pay a $2.5 million fine for their involvement in the embezzlement scheme.
Judge Mohammad Akhteruzzaman stated [DWreport] that Zia's was given a more lenient sentence than the five other convicts because of her social and physical status.
In addition to bail from the High Court, Zia's counsel is seeking a stay order on the trial court's verdict. Bangladesh law prohibits [AP report] anyone that serves more than a two year sentence in prison from running for office for the next five years. Anisul Huq, the Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, says that it will be up to the appeals court to determine whether the former prime minister will be eligible to run in the next election.