07/16/2007, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Police arrest Bangladeshi ex-PM again, students protest

Police and Special Forces take political leader into custody at her home. Party sources say that she is to remain in detention for a month.

Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was arrested at her home in the capital on Monday and remanded into police custody for a month, sources inside her party, the Awami League, said.

It was not immediately clear on what charges Hasina was detained, but she was previously accused of extortion and corruption during her term in office from 1996 to 2001.

She has also been accused in the death of four political adversaries killed during demonstrations in October 2006 in the capital, but has rejected all claims.

“We will come out soon with all the details,” her lawyer told reporters.

Hundreds of police and elite Rapid Action Battalion force surrounded Hasina's home around midnight on Sunday. They entered the house early on Monday, put her on a security vehicle and drove to the court, witnesses and her party officials said.

Hasina's son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, said his mother's detention was a conspiracy to remove her from politics.

“I have no plan to return to Bangladesh immediately but will try to organise a protest worldwide,” he added.

Students staged small protests at Dhaka University but were driven back by police, witnesses said.

Bangladesh is under a state of emergency imposed by the country's army-backed interim administration which took charge on January 12 and launched a crackdown on politicians ahead of elections planned for late next year.

More than 170 political figures including Tareque Rahman, the son of Hasina's rival and former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, have been detained for graft and abuse of power.

Hasina and Khaleda have alternated as Bangladesh's prime ministers for the past 15 years, and were top contenders for power in the next election.

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