Bangladesh: BNP threatens to boycott general elections if Khaleda Zia is not released from jail

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) announced that the party will not participate in the general elections slated in December this year if party Chairperson Khaleda Zia is not released from jail.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said the party will peacefully fight for release of Khaleda Zia.

On 8 February, a special court in Dhaka convicted Khaleda Zia and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

As part of its countrywide protest programme, several hundred BNP leaders and activists formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka in protest against the jailing of its chairperson Khaleda Zia in a corruption case.

Speaking to the media, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir declared, “No national election will be held without BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. We will not participate in the elections without her.”

The BNP had boycotted the general elections in 2014 after it said its demand for free and fair elections were not fulfilled. The general elections of 2014 were preceded by government crackdown on the opposition and Khaleda Zia was put under house arrest.

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