Surendra Kumar Sinha headed the Supreme Court when it ruled in 2017 that parliament may not fire judges, a move hailed by lawyers.
Bangladesh’s former chief justice has been sentenced in his absence to 11 years in prison for corruption in a case that, according to opposition groups and supporters, is politically motivated.
Surendra Kumar Sinha, 70, headed the Supreme Court when it ruled in 2017 that parliament could not fire judges, a move hailed by lawyers as protecting judicial independence.
Sinha left Bangladesh in late 2017, claiming he was forced to step aside after the landmark ruling. He lives in North America where he apparently sought asylum.
Fighters said his departure was a major blow to the credibility of the country’s judiciary, and accused the government of going after Sinha.
“It was very clear that the government was angry with him and … was determined to just kill his reputation,” Asif Nazrul, a law professor at Dhaka University, told AFP news agency.
A court in the capital Dhaka has convicted Sinha of laundering about $ 471,000 in collaboration with private bank officials.
Ten more people have been charged in the case, eight of whom have been convicted and various penalties have been imposed, reports say.
Judge Shaikh Nazmul Alam of the Special Judicial Court in Dhaka delivered Tuesday’s ruling and ordered Sinha to serve seven years in prison for money laundering and four years for breach of trust, prosecutor Khurshid Alam Khan said.
“This ruling proved that no one in the country is above the law. “Violations will bring anyone to trial,” he told AFP.
Sinha was the first Hindu chief justice in the officially secular Muslim majority nation of 169 million.
He later wrote a book entitled A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy, in which he said he was forced to resign and flee after being threatened by a military security agency.