March 30, 2016 / 12:28 PM / in 2 years

Bangladesh issues arrest warrant for opposition leader

DHAKA (Reuters) - A Bangladesh court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for former prime minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia over a deadly firebombing attack last year, a prosecutor said.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia waves to activists as she arrives for a rally in Dhaka in this file picture taken January 20, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj/Files

The court also issued arrest warrants for 27 leaders and activists of Khaleda’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party in connection with the petrol bomb attack on a bus during a party protest in Dhaka in January last year.

“The court passed the order after accepting the charges against them,” public prosecutor Shah Alam Talukdar said.

Early last year, at least 120 people were killed and hundreds injured in political violence, most in petrol bomb attacks on vehicles, amid transport blockades and strikes by the opposition aimed at toppling the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Bangladeshi politics has been mired for years in rivalry between Hasina and Khaleda. Both women are related to former national leaders, and they have alternated as prime minister for most of the past two decades.

Khaleda, 70, was not immediately available for comment. She and leaders of her party have denied the accusations of responsibility for the fire saying it was politically motivated.

Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Robert Birsel

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