Crime & Justice

Bangladesh court sentences former chief justice to prison

Dhaka, Nov 9 (EFE).- A special court in Bangladeshi on Tuesday sentenced exiled former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha to 11 years in prison for money laundering and embezzlement of public funds.

The sentence was issued by Judge Sheikh Nazmul Alam of the Dhaka Special Judge Court-4 before a packed courtroom, according to anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) prosecutor Mir Ahmed Ali Salam.

“The court jailed Sinha for seven years for money laundering and four years for criminal breach of trust. Both sentences will run concurrently, so he will have to serve seven years in jail,” Salam explained to EFE.

The court also fined the exiled former chief justice a sum of 4.5 million taka (around $53,000) and ordered the confiscation of 7.8 million in his bank account.

Sinha, currently on exile in the United States, is the first ever former chief justice to be convicted ever for a criminal offense in the country.

In January 2020, the court issued an arrest warrant against Sinha, a month after the ACC filed charges against him and 10 others for allegedly siphoning off 40 million taka from a local bank account between November 2016 and September 2018.

The court acquitted two accused and handed jail sentences to the others, said the prosecutor.

The anti-graft body launched an investigation against Sinha in April 2018, four months after he stepped down as chief justice amid controversies.

Sinha was criticized by several government ministers after he issued a verdict striking down the 16th amendment of the Constitution that nullified the Parliament’s power to remove Supreme Court judges for misconduct or incapacity.

Sinha, who was appointed chief justice in January 2015, left Bangladesh on Oct.13, 2017, allegedly under pressure from the government, and submitted his resignation while in exile on Nov.10, 2017.

He published a book in 2018 titled “A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy” in the US, describing how he was forced to leave the country. EFE


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