DHAKA: The Election Commission has rejected the candidature of jailed former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia, who has filed her nomination papers for the upcoming general election in the country due to her convictions in two graft cases.
The Commission's decision came four days after the Bangladesh High Court ruled that a person jailed for more than two years cannot contest polls.
She had filed nomination papers from three constituencies, two from northwestern Bogra and one from southeastern Feni.
As per election rules, a candidate declared unsuited to contest polls, they can appeal to an EC tribunal for revised decisions or could challenge the commission decision to the High Court.
Zia is currently serving jail terms in two graft cases.
On October 29, a Bangladesh court had sentenced former Zia for seven years in jail on corruption charges.
As per the Zia Charitable Trust Fund case, Zia and three others abused their power and raised funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The other three accused in the case are Khaleda’s former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, Harris' assistant private secretary Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan, the assistant private secretary to former city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
A Dhaka court had pronounced the verdict almost seven years after the case was filed by the Anti Corruption Commission in 2011. A fine of 10 lakh taka had imposed of the accused, if they fail to pay it, they will have to serve an additional six months in prison.
In February, another court had sentenced her to five years in jail for embezzling Rs 1.6 crore meant for an orphanage. The case was filed by an anti-corruption commission in 2008.
Earlier, Zia had said, the charges are designed to keep her family out of politics and her lawyers have consistently described the trial as "political vengeance".
Zia entered politics in the mid-1980s after her husband, a former military dictator, was assassinated in an abortive coup.
Zia was made vice-chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in March 1983 and She became chairperson of the party on May 10, 1984, a post she is holding till now.
She has served as a Bangladesh Prime Minister for two terms from 1991 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006.
The 73-year-old ex-premier went to the jail several times in her 35 years of political career. She was in jail for about a year on charges of corruption during the 2007-2008 tenure of the army-backed caretaker government.