[JURIST] A Bangladesh court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for the leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website] and former prime minister Khaleda Zia [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The arrest warrant comes in response to Zia’s failure to appear [AP report] in court in the two corruption cases presently against her. The charges brought against Zia accuse her of embezzling funds [JURIST report] from a charitable trust and orphanage named after her late husband. The judge presiding over her case denied a bail plea despite defense counsel arguing that Zia is sick and worried about her own security.
The political situation in Bangladesh has been tense in recent months following BNP’s boycott of the January 2014 elections, which were marked by considerable violence [Al Jazeera report] and returned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to power. In April Bangladesh’s High Court ruled that Zia must stand trial on corruption charges [JURIST report].