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Bangladesh issues arrest warrant against ex-PM's son

MYT 5:46:01 PM

DHAKA (Reuters) - A Bangladesh court issued an arrest warrant on Thursday against former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia'a elder son Tareque Rahman for masterminding a 2004 grenade attack on a political rally addressed by then opposition leader and current premier Sheikh Hasina, lawyers and court officials said.

Early this month police filed charges against Tareque and several others following an investigation into the country's worst case of political violence that killed 23 members of Hasina's Awami League.

Tareque Rahman, the eldest son of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia waves at crowd during a rally in Dhaka in September 4, 2006. (REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman/Files)

Hasina escaped narrowly but suffered partial loss of hearing.

"The court took into cognizance the charges made against Tarque Rahman and 11 others involved in the same case, and ordered them to be arrested," Syed Rezaur Rahman, a senior state prosecutor, told Reuters.

Tareque, political heir apparent to his mother, who was arrested in 2007 for alleged corruption, is now in London on medical parole. If convicted, he faces the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party said the charges against Khaleda's son were politically motivated.

Hasina and Khaleda have dominated the nation's politics for two decades, and analysts fear that their renewed confrontation could plunge the country back into turmoil.

(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Anis Ahmed)

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