Bangladesh jails ex-home minister for 17 years

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DHAKA, Oct 30 (Reuters) A Bangladesh court today sentenced former state minister for home affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar to 17 years in jail for illegal possession of firearms.

Babar, a powerful member of the cabinet of the country's most recent prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, was arrested in May after security forces said they had seized weapons from his home in the capital Dhaka.

Bangladesh's army backed interim administration has launched a crackdown on corruption in the impoverished country, and a dozen former ministers and political leaders have been convicted over the past four months.

''The former state minister has been found guilty by a special tribunal, which ordered him to serve 17 years in jail,'' a court official said.

Khaleda and her rival Sheikh Hasina are now both in jail, facing trial on charges of extortion, corruption and abuse of power.


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