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Bangladesh ex-PM Khaleda gets 5-year jail term for graft


REUTERS
DHAKA
Bangladesh opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia was jailed on Thursday for corruption, but plans to appeal against her five-year term, her lawyer said, as thousands of supporters took to the streets to protest her innocence.
Khaleda, her son and aides were convicted of stealing 21 million taka ($253,000) in foreign donations received by an orphanage trust set up when she was last prime minister, from 2001 to 2006, lawyers said.
"She was given a shorter term considering her health and social status," Judge Mohammad Akhteruzzaman said, as he passed sentence in a packed courtroom amid tight security.
Khaleda plans to appeal against her conviction, lawyers said, and is likely to be freed on bail during that process.
"We didn't get justice. We'll go to the higher court," Khandker Mahbub Hossain, the leader of Khaleda's legal team, told reporters.
After the verdict, Khaleda was escorted to the central jail in the capital, a three-storey red-brick structure with barred windows surrounded by trees, to begin serving her sentence in two rooms set aside for her, jail officials said.
Khaleda's son, Tarique Rahman, and four others were jailed for 10 years at the end of a case that lasted nearly 10 years.

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