khaleda zia
khaleda ziaReuters

Tarique Rahman, 51-year-old son of Bangladesh's main Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, was sentenced to seven years in jail by a Bangladesh court on Thursday on charges of money laundering. He has also been ordered to pay a fine of 200 million taka ($2.5 million).

Rahman had been acquitted by a Dhaka court in 2013 on charges that he and his friend, Giasuddin Al Mamun, siphoned off 204 million taka ($2.6 million) to Singapore, Reuters reported. The court upheld the jail term of seven years for Mamun on Thursday.

"The verdict once again endorsed that no one is above the law," Khurshid Alam Khan, a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Commission, which had appealed against the 2013 judgement, told reporters.

The defence has not yet decided whether the decision will be appealed against, Zainul Abedin, Rahman's lawyer who is currently living in exile in London, said.

However, Law Minister Anisul Huq said that Rahman has to first surrender before the court if he wishes to appeal against his conviction. He added that he would ask British authorities or international police agency, Interpol, for assistance if the need arises.

Bangladesh does not have an extradition treaty with Britain, the agency reported.

Rejecting Rahman's conviction, the former prime minister's Bangladesh Nationalist Party called it "an attempt to keep him away from politics".

Rivalry between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda has mired the politics of Bangladesh for years. Citizens have been a victim of a series of terrorist attacks, the most recent being the attack on a cafe in Dhaka on July 1 that killed over 20 hostages, most of them foreigners.

Both Zia and Hasina have alternated as prime ministers for the past two decades.