Bangladesh ex-PM appeals 5-year jail sentence in graft case

Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has appealed a five-year prison sentence in a corruption case.

In their appeal, defense lawyers argued that the verdict was politically motivated and influenced by the government, an allegation authorities have denied.

The conviction means that Zia, the opposition leader and archrival of the current prime minister, could be barred from running in December national elections.

Zia was convicted of embezzling some $250,000 in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she first became prime minister in 1991.

Zia faces more than 30 other charges, ranging from corruption to sedition. Bangladesh politics are deeply fractious, with current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Zia ruling the country alternately since 1991, when democracy was restored.