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Warrant against Sheikh Hasina's sister

world Updated: Oct 25, 2007 11:12 IST

A Dhaka court has issued arrest warrant against the expatriate sister of detained former prime minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina in connection with a graft charge.

Metropolitan magistrate ABM Abdul Fattah on Wednesday ordered the arrest of Sheikh Rehana, who lives in London, and attachment of her property in connection with a $441,000 extortion case filed in June, in which the former premier was also named as an accused.

Rehana alleged that the order was "evil-intentioned" and aimed at humiliating her.

"I'm really disappointed and disheartened at such a false case against me -- the arrest warrant and the attachment of my wealth. What's the reason for this? This is just to humiliate me and this is evil-intentioned," she told BBC Radio from the United States.

The court fixed November 11 for the next hearing in the case filed by Bangladeshi businessman Azam J Chowdhury.

Defence lawyers said the order came despite an High Court order asking the government not to proceed with the case until the disposal of a writ petition by Hasina challenging their trial under the tough Emergency Powers Rules (EPR).

But the magistrate said he was yet to receive any order from the High Court to keep the trial process suspended.

The development came as emergency-ruled Bangladesh's army chief General Moeen U Ahmed, now on a visit to the United States, said everyone would be happy if Hasina was released after being proven innocent.

"My respect and support for the former prime minister and Bangabandhu (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) daughter is no less than anyone else. If she is released from prison after proving her innocence, it will be good news for everyone," Ahmed said in response to a question from Hasina's expatriate son Sajeeb Wazed Joy at a seminar at Ash Institute of Harvard University in Boston on Thursday.

The army chief, however, said the matter was not under his jurisdiction as the "Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case against Hasina and the trial is being held under the laws of the country. There is nothing to hide here".

Hasina was arrested in June this year as part of a massive-anti-graft campaign by the current interim government installed in January this year following the proclamation of state of emergency amid heightened political tension and violent conflicts between major parties.