Police in Bangladesh have brought murder charges against some 50 political leaders, including opposition Awami League chief and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Authorities said Wednesday murder charges were also filed against Matiur Rahman Nizami, the head of the Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami.

Officials say the charges stem from the deaths of rival activists from both parties during anti-government protests in the capital, Dhaka, last October. 

Court officials say the case will be heard April 22.

Ms. Hasina is the chief of the Awami League political coalition.  In an interview with British radio Wednesday, she denied the allegations against her.

The alliance's general secretary, Abdul Jalil, Wednesday said Ms. Hasina will fight the charges when she returns from her vacation in the United States.

Ms. Hasina served as prime minister from 1996 to 2001.

Also Wednesday, associates of another former Bangladeshi prime minister, Khaleda Zia, say security forces have begun restricting the number of visitors she can receive.

A military-backed interim government declared a state of emergency in Bangladesh in January.

The interim government has been on an anti-corruption drive, arresting more than 100 people on allegations of corruption and extortion.  Among them are dozens of former ministers and political leaders.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.