Top Bangladesh opposition leader jailed for 13 years
October 20 2015 11:32 PM
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Sadeque Hossain Khoka

AFP
Dhaka

A Bangladesh court yesterday jailed a former mayor of Dhaka for 13 years for corruption in absentia, a prosecutor said, a fresh blow to the beleaguered opposition which called the charges politically motivated.
An anti-graft court found Sadeque Hossain Khoka, now living in the United States, guilty of amassing wealth illegally and of concealing
information about his income.
“He was sentenced to 13 years in jail in total for the two charges,” Mosharraf Hossain, prosecutor for the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission, said.
“The judge also ordered confiscation of 100.5mn taka ($1.3mn) in illegally acquired property,” he said.
Khoka, 63 is a vice-chairman of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and was mayor of the capital Dhaka for nearly 10 years
until 2011.
He now lives in New York where he is being treated for cancer, his lawyer Sanaullah Mian said, adding that they planned to appeal against the verdict.
Mian, who is also a BNP official, called the case “one hundred percent politically
motivated”.
“It is part of the government’s repression of the opposition,” he said.
The BNP and its Islamist allies have accused the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of cracking down on the opposition in recent months after they tried to topple her through a violent transport blockade early this year.
Tens of thousands of activists have been detained and top opposition officials including BNP leader and former premier Khaleda Zia were charged with violence during the protests, in which about 150 people died.
Last month Zia left the country for London for treatment for eye and knee problems, with some speculating that she might not return to the country in an attempt to avoid imprisonment.


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