Police arrest Bangladeshi ex-PM

July 17, 2007

DHAKA (BBC) -- Police in Bangladesh have arrested former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, after a raid on her house in Dhaka.

She was later brought to a court in the capital amid heavy security. It was not immediately known on what charges she was held. Police have previously said that Sheikh Hasina faces corruption charges relating to her time in office from 1996 to 2001. Sheikh Hasina has strenuously denied any wrongdoing. The military-backed government has barred her from leaving the country. --------------------------------- 'Conspiracy' Sheikh Hasina was arrested after a two-and-a-half hour raid on her house involving thousands of policemen, the BBC's Abdullah Muyid in Dhaka reports. She was later brought to the court. "The court has ordered Sheikh Hasina detained for one month," Begum Motia Chowdhury, a senior leader of her Awami League Party, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying. The former prime minister's son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, told Reuters that his mother's detention was a conspiracy to remove her from politics. "I have spoken to my mother. She told me about the police action. It's part of a deep-rooted conspiracy," Mr Joy said in a telephone interview from the United States, where he lives. He said the law enforcement agencies were "going beyond their limits" and added that he had "no plan to return to Bangladesh immediately but will try to organize a protest worldwide". Sheikh Hasina, who leads the Awami League, is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led Bangladesh to independence from Pakistan in 1971. Since January this year, Bangladesh has been governed by a military-backed emergency government, which has promised to root out corruption. More than 150 prominent politicians, civil servants and businessmen have been arrested. The government says elections will be held before the end of 2008.