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Arrest warrant against Sheikh Hasina
April 22, 2007 16:16 IST
A Bangladesh court has issued arrest warrants against former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and two of her party leaders in connection with the killing of five activists of a rival group, a day after she vowed to return home defying a ban.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Court issued the warrants on Saturday against Awami League chief Hasina, who is currently in London, as well as Mohd Nasim, a former minister in her Cabinet, and Abdul Malik, a low-profile leader of the party.
Metropolitan Magistrate Mir Ali Reza issued the arrest warrants against Hasina, Nasim and Malik after accepting a chargesheet against the Awami League chief and 45 others in connection with the killings which took place at Paltan.
Jamaat-i-Islami had filed the case with Paltan police station on April 11, when Hasina was in the US.
The spokesman for Hasina said in London on Friday that she was still determined to return home defying a 'temporary' restriction ordered four days ago.
Local media reported last week that she would be refused entry to the country, and that authorities have told airlines not to allow her to board any incoming flights. The United News of Bangladesh agency reported that Hasina is now listed as a fugitive.
Authorities in Dhaka had ordered the ban fearing her 'provocative and inflammatory' statements could destabilise situation in the country on her return after a private visit to the United States to see her son and his wife. From the US, Hasina went to London and is expected to board a flight to Dhaka later in the day.
A senior adviser in interim cabinet had also said that 'steps' would be taken against her if she defied the ban. The development came amid speculation that Zia might soon be exiled to Saudi Arabia under 'pressure' from the military-backed interim government.
Officials preferring anonymity earlier said Zia was expected to fly to Jeddah along with most of her family members under a 'negotiated deal' under which her detained elder son Tarique Rahman, faced with several 'extortion' and graft charges, might join the family in Saudi Arabia later.
Zia's party appeared to have faced a major setback in the past several months as the interim administration launched a massive anti-corruption campaign grilling over 60 high-profile politicians, mostly belonging to BNP.