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Bangladesh: Former Prime Minister Evicted from Residence

(Jan. 5, 2011) Former Bangladesh Prime Minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia was recently evicted from her government-owned house after the Supreme Court rejected her appeal from a High Court ruling ordering her to vacate the house.

In 1981, President Ziaur Rahman, Zia's husband, was killed in a military-led coup. After the assassination, the government building where the family of the deceased President was residing was allotted to his family by the government in recognition of his service to the country. Zia later became the first female Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

The government had issued an eviction notice to Zia on April 8, 2009. She filed a petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the notice. On October 13, 2010, the High Court rejected the petition and ordered Zia to vacate the house. Zia filed petitions with the Supreme Court challenging the High Court verdict; on November 29, 2010, a Supreme Court bench turned down these petitions.

The current government views the 1981 allotment of a government building to the former President's family to be illegal. It intends to use this building to benefit families victimized by a 2009 mutiny by border guards. (Bangladesh Apex Court Upholds Zia's Eviction, DAILYBHASKAR.IN (Nov. 29, 2010),