Bangladesh is on high alert before a verdict comes Thursday against opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in a politically sensitive corruption case.

The case involves an orphanage trust established during Zia's last premiership in 2001-2006. The charges allege Zia, her elder son and four others were involved in embezzling $248,154 from the trust. The maximum punishment for a conviction is life in prison.

The situation in the capital and elsewhere is tense with police patrolling across the country. The opposition says the government has arrested hundreds of its supporters ahead of the verdict.

If Zia is convicted, she would not be able to contest in national elections slated for December.