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Cablegate: Sigma Huda Convicted of Extortion

VZCZCXRO1121
RR RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1389 2390933
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270933Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4898
INFO RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8071
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1805
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9257
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0124
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0897
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0546
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

UNCLAS DHAKA 001389

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DRL FOR: SGHORI, G/TIP FOR: SNEUMANN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KGOV KDEM BG
SUBJECT: SIGMA HUDA CONVICTED OF EXTORTION

REF: A. DHAKA 1155

B. DHAKA 1295
C. DHAKA 1379

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Nazmul and Sigma Huda were found guilty of
extortion by a special anti-corruption court on August 27.
Both received prison sentences, though the family will
appeal. Sigma's health has improved recently. According to
her sister, she is now able to get most of the health tests
she requires. END SUMMARY.

SIGMA SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON
========================================

2. (SBU) Former BNP Communications Minister Nazmul Huda and
his wife, United Nations Anti-Trafficking Special Rapporteur
Sigma Huda, have been convicted of extortion by a special
anti-corruption court. Nazmul Huda, was sentenced to seven
years in prison and fined 25 million taka (approximately
$362,000) for extortion, and Sigma was sentenced to three
years for abetting extortion. According to Sigma's sister,
Khushi Kabir, they are planning to appeal the verdict
immediately in the High Court.

SIGMA'S HEALTH "BETTER"
=======================

3. (SBU) Kabir told POLOFF Sigma's health has "improved" now,
a result of her transfer from the Dhaka Central Jail to the
prison facilities at Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujib Medical Center
in early August. Although the authorities are still
"dragging their feet" authorizing certain tests, Sigma is
receiving most of the important tests, including a blood
sugar analysis, regularly. In addition, Kabir said the water
in her sister's lungs has been reduced and "maybe her heart
is okay now," although Sigma still requires periodic heart
check-ups given her history of cardiac problems.

CONDITIONS IN HOSPITAL PRISON
=============================

4. (SBU) Sigma's family has also been allowed to make certain
improvements to Sigma's hospital room, including installing a
light switch, fixing the toilet, and changing out the shower
spigot. Kabir said it still takes a week or more to get
administrative approvals, and the family has to pay for any
improvements out of their own pocket.

5. (SBU) Post continues to monitor this and other on-going
corruption cases.
PASI

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