Bangladesh detains Awami official, ex-home minister

Updated on May 28, 2007 07:02 PM IST
Security forces detained the general secretary of Bangladesh's powerful Awami League and the home minister of the immediate past government on Monday, party officials said, as the army-backed interim government moved to act against corruption.
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Reuters | By, Dhaka

Security forces detained the general secretary of Bangladesh's powerful Awami League and the home minister of the immediate past government on Monday, party officials said, as the army-backed interim government moved to act against corruption.

"Abdul Jalil was picked up from his private office at the capital's Motijheel commercial area," said a spokesman for the Awami League, headed by former prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Police declined to comment.

Police also picked up Lutfuzzaman Babar, former home minister in the government of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, and two former lawmakers from her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the party officials said.

Babar and Abul Hashem, a leading businessman, were taken from their homes in the city's Gulshan area. Another lawmaker SA Khaleque was picked up from his Dhanmandi home.

Army-led forces also raided the residence of Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, secretary-general of BNP, but did not find him, the party officials said.

Jalil is the most senior politician held by the interim authority, headed by former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed.
More than 160 key political figures have been detained since a January election was postponed due to widespread violence.

They include Tareque Rahman, elder son of Khaleda Zia, senior joint secretary-general of BNP and her heir apparent. Tareque faces charges of extortion and abuse of power.

Monday's security swoop came in the wake of increasing demands by the Awami League and BNP for the lifting of emergency rule and allowing limited political activity.

An election planned for Jan. 22 was postponed indefinitely after the imposition of emergency rule, which also banned all political activity.

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