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(Mar 02, 2008) The trial of the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, on a complaint of extortion filed by businessman Azam J. Chowdhury, has begun. The complainant stated to journalists on January 24, 2008, that he had made the complaint against Hasina's cousin, former minister Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, for extortion of $500,000 for clearing a business deal but Hasina's name was added by the investigators of the complaint.

As the trial began, the complainant was examined as the first witness. In response to insistent questioning by the prosecution about Hasina's role in the extortion of money, the complainant refused to name Hasina, but stated that Selim had assured him that he would secure him the contract to build a 210 megawatt power plant with the help of "the then prime minister." The witness denied payment of any money to the prime minister and refused to name her as an accused. Hasina's Canadian counsel, Payam Akhavan, has stated that the charge against the prime minister is "politically motivated." Akhavan, a Canadian lawyer and a professor at McGill University, is a member of a panel of lawyers who are representing Hasina. (Complainant Declines to Name Hasina in Graft Trial, THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, Jan. 31, 2008; Ajam J [sic] Chowdhury Mentioned Hasina's Name Nine Times in FIR: Canadian Lawyer in Dhaka to Act as AL's Chief Counsel, THE NEW NATION, Jan. 29, 2008, available at

Author: Krishan Nehra More by this author
Topic: Government ethics and transparency More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Bangladesh More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 03/02/2008