Court orders arrest of Bangladeshi opposition leader

Bangladeshi court issues arrest warrant for opposition leader Khaleda Zia over firebomb attack

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Bangladesh's main opposition leader Khaleda Zia attends a rally in Dhaka on January 5, 2015.

A Bangladeshi court has issued a warrant for the arrest of opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia on Wednesday, a prosecutor said.

The warrant was issued over a firebomb attack on a bus in January last year which caused dozens of casualties during a party protest in Dhaka.

Twenty seven other officials and activists of her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are also included in the arrest warrant in connection with the deadly petrol bomb attack.

Public prosecutor Shah Alam Talukdar said, "The court passed the order after accepting the charges against them.”

"She is the main accused in the case," Talukdar added.

BNP spokesman Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said that the arrest warrant is politically motivated and "laughable."

Zia’s lawyer Sanaullah Miah said, "There was no way she could have instigated the violence as she was confined to her office at that time," referring to the nationwide transport blockade last year when Zia was confined to her office compound in Dhaka for months.

"This case is just to harass her and to keep her politically under pressure."

At least 120 people were killed and hundreds injured during the blockade and strikes aimed at toppling the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Zia and other officials denied the accusations.

A court in Dhaka has accused BNP opposition leader Khaleda Zia and 27 other party members, supporters of whom are pictured here, of instigating a petrol bomb attack as part of a deadly anti-government campaign of arson.

Police said up to 200 BNP activists and supporters staged a protest in front of the party headquarters in Dhaka as news of the court's move emerged.

"They shouted slogans and staged an impromptu demonstration. But they moved back to the party office before police reached the spot," assistant commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Saifur Rahman said.

TRTWorld and agencies