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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Police arrest Bangladeshi ex-PM
Sheikh Hasina outside court

Police in Bangladesh have arrested former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after a raid on her house in Dhaka.

She was later brought to a court in the capital amid heavy security.

Sheikh Hasina faces corruption charges relating to her time in office from 1996 to 2001. She is also an accused in the killings of four political rivals.

Sheikh Hasina has denied any crime and says the arrest is a "conspiracy to expel her from politics". The arrest sparked angry protests from supporters.

"Neither myself nor my family were ever involved in any sort of corruption," a lawyer quoted Hasina as telling the court.

Her lawyers said the court had turned down their submissions not to detain her, a move which they said was "unlawful and untenable".

"We will come out soon with all the details," one lawyer told reporters.


The military-backed government has barred her from leaving the country.

Sheikh Hasina was arrested after a two-and-a-half hour raid on her house, involving about 1,000 policemen, the BBC's Abdullah Muyid in Dhaka reports.

Police later used batons and rubber bullets to drive away protesters chanting "release Hasina, release Hasina". At least eight protesters were injured, witnesses say.

Protests also broke out at Tungipara, Sheikh Hasina's ancestral home in the south-west, and in other places across the country, reports say.

Khaleda Zia case

The head of Bangladesh's military-backed caretaker government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, said after the arrest that no-one in the country was above law.

"Anyone involved in corruption will be tracked down and prosecuted," he said.

Police filed two cases against Sheikh Hasina in June for extorting 80 million taka ($1.16 million) from two businessmen. Monday's arrest was related to one of those cases.

Sheikh Hasina. File photo
Sheikh Hasina leads the Awami League Party

"The court has ordered Sheikh Hasina detained for one month," Begum Motia Chowdhury, a senior leader of her Awami League Party, told Reuters news agency.

The former prime minister's son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, told Reuters from his home in the US that the law enforcement agencies were "going beyond their limits", but that he had "no plan to return to Bangladesh immediately but will try to organise a protest worldwide".

Sheikh Hasina, who leads the Awami League, is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led Bangladesh to independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Her bitter rival, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, Khaleda Zia, also faces criminal charges and has been ordered to appear before a court by 26 August over tax evasion allegations.

Since January this year, Bangladesh has been governed by a military-backed emergency government, which has promised to root out corruption.

More than 150 prominent politicians, civil servants and businessmen have been arrested.

The government says elections will be held before the end of 2008.

Thousands take to the streets in protest

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