Supreme Court upholds bail for Khaleda Zia

Clay Curtis
May 17, 2018

The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict today on the appeals against the High Court order that granted bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.

The 72-year-old Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief was sentenced for five years on the 8th of February over the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about 250,000 dollar) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust.

The government had appealed a March verdict by the High Court granting her bail for four months.

A four-member bench, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the order on Wednesday after rejecting appeals filed by the state and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Zia has been in the old jailhouse on Nazimuddin Road, Dhaka after she was convicted in the case.

Abedin said Zia was officially considered under arrest in five other cases and she needs to get bail for each one, which may take days or weeks.

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But on March 19, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court stayed till May 8 the High Court order, granting two leave to appeal petitions filed by the ACC and the state against the bail.

The apex court also directed the High Court to dispose of by July 31 the hearing of Zias appeal petition against her conviction and imprisonment in the corruption case, they said.

The court also sentenced Khaleda's elder son Tarique Rahman, now in the United Kingdom, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment each, and fined them a total of Tk 2.10 crore, saying that all the convicts have to pay the fine in equal amounts.

Zia's lawyers said they told the court that the three-time former prime minister, the arch-rival of current leader Sheikh Hasina, faced serious health risks if kept in prison. The High Court is the lower division of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Khaleda's counsel and former law minister Barrister Maudud Ahmed said as his client is yet to secure bail in some more cases filed against her, she will not be able to come out of jail right now.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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