At least four countries across the world issued alerts for their citizens traveling to or living in Bangladesh centring the verdict of former Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia in a corruption case.
The countries are United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The governments of those countries have issued travel alerts on their websites requesting their citizens in Bangladesh to avoid areas that generate large crowds and to monitor local media.
The United States Embassy in Dhaka on February 6 issued a demonstration alert throughout Dhaka and all major cities in Bangladesh.
“Demonstrations may take place on February 8, 2018 in conjunction with the expected announcement of a verdict in a court case against opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Demonstrations may or may not affect local transportation services, schools, shopping malls, and infrastructure,” it said.
On February 7, the United Kingdom issued foreign travel advice for Bangladesh, asking its nationals to be vigilant at all times and stay away from large gatherings and avoid political offices and rallies.
“Demonstrations can turn violent at any time and lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation,” it said.
The UK requested its citizens to avoid places where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place, follow instructions of local authorities and monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations.
Also on February 7, the Canadian government informed its citizens in Bangladesh that the verdict in a court case involving Bangladesh’s opposition leader will be announced on February 8 which may cause demonstrations across the country.
The Australian government also warned its citizens, saying the verdict may disrupt traffic and public transport including in the vicinity of the Australian High Commission.
A special court in Dhaka has sentenced former Prime Minister and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to five years imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on Thursday.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Court-5 passed the order in presence of Khaleda Zia on Thursday.
Her son and BNP’s Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others have also been given 10 years imprisonment in the case and a fine of Tk 2.10 crore each.