Bangladesh asks UK to extradite Zia’s son

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BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman visit the shrine of Prophet Muhammad in Medina, Saudi Arabia on July 21, 2014. (Photo: bdnews24.com/IANS)

Dhaka: Bangladesh has asked the UK to extradite Tarique Rahman, the exiled son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Chairman of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) who has been convicted in two corruption cases.

“The process is going on. Next step always depends on the response from the British government,” Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali was quoted as saying by bdnews24.com on Thursday.

In February, a Bangladeshi court sentenced Rahman, living in London since 2008, to 10 years imprisonment in a fraud case related to a foundation created to fund an orphanage trust, while his mother was handed a five year prison sentence for the same offence.

After the verdict, the BNP named Rahman as the party’s chairman to replace Zia, currently serving her prison term.

The opposition leader’s son had been sentenced to seven years in prison in 2016 on charges of laundering $2.5 million between 2003-07.

Zia — who headed the Bangladeshi government twice (between 1991-96 and 2001-06) — was named in 13 cases of corruption, violence and sedition. According to the BNP, hundreds of its activists and leaders face similar charges.

The BNP, which does not currently hold any seats in Parliament, boycotted the 2014 general elections after the government, led by Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League, scrapped the system of an interim government which for decades had supervised elections in the country.

The BNP and the Awami League have taken turns in power in the country since 1991, except for a brief period of military rule between 2006-08.