Tue, Aug 28, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Bangladeshi high court denies former prime minister bail

AFP , DHAKA

Bangladeshi Supreme Court yesterday denied bail to former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, who was arrested as part of the emergency government's crackdown on corruption, one of her lawyers said.

The court overturned a ruling by a lower court issued last month which said that Sheikh Hasina, who served as prime minister between 1996 and 2001 and is facing several different charges, should be freed from detention.

"A full bench of the Supreme Court headed by the chief justice stayed the High Court orders that granted bail to detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina in two extortion cases," one of her lawyers, Sahara Khatun said. "It's a big setback for us. There is now no chance that she will be freed anytime soon."

Yesterday's decision was the court's final ruling.

Lawyers had earlier argued that the government was not entitled to prosecute Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the opposition Awami League party, under emergency rules currently in force in the country.

In a separate ruling, the court also ordered the former prime minister, who has been detained since July 16, to submit details of her financial affairs to the anti-corruption commission within seven working days, Khatun said.

Sheikh Hasina, who is being held at a house inside the parliament complex, is among 150 high-profile figures who have been arrested as part of the anti-graft campaign.

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