AP wire

Protesters demand release of jailed former Bangladesh leader

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DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Several hundred opposition supporters have staged a protest in Bangladesh's capital demanding the release of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who is serving a five-year prison sentence in a corruption case.

The protesters accused police of obstructing their sit-in, and a brief clash occurred when the authorities attempted to arrest a student opposition leader. No injuries were reported in the one-hour demonstration in downtown Dhaka.

A court convicted Zia, who is now opposition leader, on Feb. 8 on charges of misusing her power and embezzling about $250,000. The conviction means that Zia, the archrival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, can be barred from running in December national elections.

She has appealed the verdict and requested bail. Her lawyer says the case is politically motivated.

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