Supreme Court upholds bail for Khaleda Zia

Elias Hubbard
May 17, 2018

The High Court on March 12 granted four-month bail to BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, in which the former prime minister has been sentenced to five-year imprisonment.

Lawyer supporting opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leave the Supreme Court after the court upheld a High Court's decision to grant bail to opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

The BNP chief was jailed for five years on February 8 over the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about United States dollars 2,50,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her husband late Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician.

The Supreme Court rejected both of the appeals upholding the bail.

On March 19, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda's bail until May 8 in the graft case in which she was convicted by the lower court.

Zia's lawyer Khandakar Mahbub Hossain told The Daily Star that the 72-year-old chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party can not be released from jail despite Wednesday's judgment, as she has been arrested in three other cases. Therefore, she could not be granted bail on health grounds, he said.

It was not immediately clear, however, when Zia would be released from the special prison in Dhaka where she is the only inmate.

Khaleda's lawyer Zainul Abedin told the SC that the arguments made by the attorney general had gone in favour of his client as the AG placed some instances, saying that the SC had not interfered in the HC orders that granted bail to the convicted in different cases.

Five others, including her son Tarique Rahman, were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment and fined Tk2.1 crore each for their role in the crime.

Bangladesh law says anyone imprisoned for more than two years can not run for office for the next five years, but Law Minister Anisul Huq had said the final decision rests with the higher courts.

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

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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