Visit our new website:

Bangladesh party says hundreds of supporters held before polls

  • Mon, 10 Dec 2018 08:13
Sun, 2018-12-09 09:30

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s opposition party Sunday said nearly 2,000 of its supporters have been arrested on trumped-up charges in a crackdown aimed at derailing its campaign just weeks from a general election.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is seeking to unseat Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on December 30, said at least 1,972 party officials and grassroots campaigners had been detained since the election was announced a month ago.
The arrests are yet another blow for a beleaguered opposition whose leader Khaleda Zia has been jailed for corruption and barred from running against arch-rival Hasina, who is seeking a third consecutive term.
The opposition boycotted the 2014 election, saying it was rigged against Zia in favor of Hasina and her ruling Awami League party.
BNP spokesman Rizvi Ahmed told AFP the majority of party cadres rounded up since late November in the police sweep were still behind bars.
“They have filed hundreds of ghost, or fictitious cases, against our party workers and leaders,” he said.
Another party official said at least 11 opposition candidates had also been detained before official campaigning begins Monday.
“Six of them are still in the jail,” said the official, who declined to be named.
Police have said those arrested had outstanding warrants or were wanted over alleged connections to ongoing cases.
Ahmed denied this, saying the crackdown was a political “blueprint” by the ruling party to intimidate its opponents.
“The government wants to hold a lopsided election. These arrests are just to create fear among the people, so that they don’t go to vote,” he said.
The opposition also accused police officials in Chittagong, a southern city, of campaigning on behalf of the Awami League. Police in the port city denied the allegations.
The arrests further hinder an already battered alliance of opposition parties, led by the BNP, which have seen their core leadership jailed on charges they say are fabricated.
Zia, a two-time former prime minister and friend-turned-foe to Hasina, was last month ordered by a court to stay behind bars for a decade for graft.
Her supporters say the charges are politically motivated to stymie Hasina’s chief political threat.
Zia’s son, a potential heir to the BNP throne, was sentenced in absentia to life behind bars while hundreds of other loyalists have been arrested or jailed, party officials say.
Just a month from the polls, the BNP has not announced an alternative candidate to run against Hasina, whose rule has been marred by allegations of rights abuses and intolerance for dissent.
Bangladesh has been led by either Zia or Hasina since the 1990s and the two powerful women have turned from close allies to fierce enemies.
Hasina has refused to allow a caretaker government to oversee the country during the campaign period.

Main category: 
Bangladesh poll preparation in full swing Bangladesh gov’t: Opposition leader Zia can’t contest polls World


Popular Science

Related Stories

Panama says withdrawing flag from tanker towed to Iran, cites violations
  • Sun, 21 Jul 2019 20:46

Author: ReutersID: 1563676826966119500Sun, 2019-07-21 05:56 PANAMA CITY: Panama’s maritime authority said on Saturday it had begun the pr...

Doctor held for ‘sterilizing’ women in Sri Lanka was framed: probe
  • Fri, 05 Jul 2019 22:01

Author: AFPID: 1562327430753039700Fri, 2019-07-05 11:48 COLOMBO: A Muslim doctor falsely accused of secretly sterilizing Buddhist women in ...

Indian political scion Rahul Gandhi resigns as Congress party leader
  • Thu, 04 Jul 2019 10:29

Author: By AIJAZ HUSSAIN | APID: 1562203554352065500Thu, 2019-07-04 04:57NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi resigned Wednesday as president of India’...

Six killed in Bangladesh textile factory blaze
  • Thu, 04 Jul 2019 07:53

Author: AFPID: 1562153063105622000Wed, 2019-07-03 11:22 DHAKA: Fire tore through a textile factory in central Bangladesh killing at least s...

Lebanon says issues still pending over sea border talks with Israel
  • Thu, 04 Jul 2019 06:19

Author: Wed, 2019-07-03 21:32 BEIRUT: Lebanon insists any demarcation of its sea boundary with Israel be implemented only as part of a wider pa...

Iran Guards chief says enemy focused on economic conflict
  • Wed, 03 Jul 2019 17:15

Author: ReutersID: 1562136594114750700Wed, 2019-07-03 06:43 GENEVA: The head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday the e...

US officials inaugurated ‘fake’ archaeology project, says Saeb Erekat
  • Tue, 02 Jul 2019 17:09

Author: Mon, 2019-07-01 23:17 RAMALLAH: A senior Palestinian official has condemned the participation of US envoys in an event linked to Israel...

Turkey says 6 citizens held in Libya have been freed
  • Tue, 02 Jul 2019 04:57

Author: APID: 1561978524428285100Mon, 2019-07-01 10:48 ANKARA, Turkey: A Turkish official says six Turkish nationals who were held by a Lib...

Mossad chief says Iran carried out Gulf attacks, Tehran offers bullish response
  • Tue, 02 Jul 2019 02:29

Author: Mon, 2019-07-01 16:13 JERUSALEM: Iran was behind the recent attacks on oil tankers and pipelines across the Gulf region, according to th...

Iraq PM says militia groups must 'choose between politics or paramilitary work'
  • Tue, 02 Jul 2019 01:26

Author: Mon, 2019-07-01 20:14 BAGHDAD: Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said on Monday that militia groups have to "choose between politics...

Husband says Zaghari-Ratcliffe ends hunger strike in Iran
  • Sun, 30 Jun 2019 03:11

Author: Associated PressID: 1561819638623760400Sat, 2019-06-29 14:40 LONDON: A British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran has ended her hunge...

Iraq says it deserves more global support in rebuilding
  • Sun, 30 Jun 2019 00:06

Author: Associated PressID: 1561805291642164000Sat, 2019-06-29 10:44 BAGHDAD: Iraq’s prime minister says his country’s sacrifices fight...