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Bangladesh tightens election rules to fight graft

The army-backed interim Govt has tightened poll rules, barring anyone convicted of wrongdoing from running for any election.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2007 15:45 IST

Bangladesh's army-backed interim administration pressing on with a drive against corruption has tightened election rules, barring anyone convicted of wrongdoing from running for any election in the country.

Previously, a person convicted for a criminal offence or moral turpitude and jailed for minimum of two years could stand for elections pending an appeal.

But a decree issued by the administration late on Wednesday said anyone convicted would be disqualified from elections.

"Any person convicted in any case under the emergency powers will be considered disqualified for contesting local or national elections, even if he or she files an appeal against the conviction," the Emergency Powers (Amendment) Rule said.

The amendment came a day after army chief Lt-General Moeen U Ahmed said that no one will be spared if they are found guilty of committing or involvement in any way in corruption.

Bangladesh has been under a state of emergency since January 11, a day before President Iajuddin Ahmed appointed the interim administration headed by former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed.

Since Fakhruddin took over, security forces led by the army have arrested more than 100 political figures including about a dozen former ministers and detained them for a month pending formal charges and possible trial by special courts.

The interim government vowed to eliminate corruption to set the stage for a free and fair election.

The new decree also empowered judicial magistrates to freeze or attach entire money and property of anyone failing to produce a statement of wealth within 72 hours.

"If the concerned person fails to do so within the deadline, or provides a false declaration or document, the person will be punished with minimum three years and maximum five years imprisonment or fines, or both," it said.

First Published: Feb 15, 2007 15:45 IST