Bangladesh prosecutors to drop two corruption charges against PM

[JURIST] The Bangladeshi state prosecutor said Monday that he is seeking to drop two of several corruption charges pending against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina [BBC profile] because they were politically motivated. State prosecutor Abdullah Abu said the two charges, as well as charges against other officials, were filed to harass leaders [AFP report]. Abu also said petitions to drop 50 cases [Daily Star report] against other politicians were filed and that several hundred other charges would not be pursued if shown to be politically motivated.

Hasina, a member of the Bangladesh Awami League [party website], is still facing several other corruption charges. In July 2007, she was arrested [JURIST report] on suspicion of extorting more than $1 million from two businesspersons while she was prime minister from 1996-2001. She denied [JURIST report] the accusations. After an investigation by Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) [governing statute, PDF], Hasina was formally charged with extortion [JURIST report] in January 2008. Five months later, she was indicted [JURIST report] after the ACC accused her of receiving about $440,000 in illegal kickbacks from a power-plant deal during her prior tenure as prime minister. In September, Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International [official website] rated Bangladesh [news release, PDF] the tenth most politically and administratively corrupt country out of 180 countries studied in 2008.

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