Senior Bangladesh opposition leaders walk free from jail

Dhaka, Jan 9 (EFE).- Bangladesh freed two top leaders of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Monday, a month after their detention in Dhaka.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and senior leader Mirza Abbas walked free from Dhaka Central Jail, their lawyer Joynal Abedin told EEF.

On Sunday, the Bangladesh Supreme Court dismissed a government appeal against their January 4 bail orders.

The lower courts denied bail to the two senior opposition figures four times.

Fakhrul is currently the top-most opposition leader in Bangladesh in the absence of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and her exiled son Tarique Rahman.

Abbas is a member of the BNP standing committee, the highest policy-making body of the party.

Zia, who was imprisoned for 10 years on a corruption charge, is banned from engaging in political activities or leaving the country after her conditional release in March 2020.

Plainclothes officers showed up at the houses of Fakhrul and Abbas on December 9 and detained them in a case filed over a clash between the police and the opposition activists.

The December 7 clash left at least one BNP activist dead and scores injured.

The arrest occurred as the BNP was preparing for a mass rally in Dhaka against rising commodity prices, and demanding the unconditional release of Zia and the formation of an interim government for elections.

The BNP accused the government of arresting nearly 1,400 leaders ahead of the December 10 rally.

Thousands of people attended the rally in Dhaka’s Gloapbagh area that ended peacefully.

Since the BNP launched large-scale demonstrations in August, some 11 of its leaders or supporters have been killed in clashes with the police and supporters of the Awami League.

It comes in an apparent escalation ahead of the next general elections to be held between December 2023 and January 2024.

The Awami League and BNP have ruled Bangladesh since 1991, except for a brief quasi-military rule in 2007-08. EFE


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