A Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced former prime minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia to another seven years in prison on corruption charges that her supporters say are politically motivated.
Khaleda Zia, long a rival to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is already behind bars after being handed a five-year term in February on separate embezzlement charges.
In her latest trial, Judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzman found the 73-year-old guilty of abuse of power and misusing 31.5 million taka ($375,000) destined for a charitable fund.
This fresh conviction is expected to further impede her chances of challenging Hasina, who has been accused of stifling her opponents, in a general election slated for December.
There was no immediate reaction from Zia´s BNP, but her lawyers have consistently described the trial as “political vengeance”.
That verdict triggered clashes between police and thousands of supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which Zia still leads from prison.