Bangladesh SC grants bail to former PM Khaleda Zia in corruption case


The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the High Court order that had granted bail to convicted BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

The high court will now resolve by July 31 Zia's appeal that sought to overturn her conviction and a five-year jail term.

Asked in how many cases Khaleda was arrested, the Attorney General said, "I don't know about it....the Ministry of Home Affairs can say better".

Her lawyers, however, said that the verdict was unlikely to bring the 72-year-old Zia out of prison as her bail pleas in at least five similar cases against her were pending hearing.

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In the petitions, Khaleda's lawyer Sanaullah Mia mentioned that his client had earlier filed writ petitions with the HC seeking quashing of the case proceedings. "It would be easy to secure bail from the lower courts since the Appellate Division upheld the High Court's bail".

In another development, the hearings of 11 cases, including a sedition suit, filed against Khaleda were adjourned by a Dhaka court yesterday until July 1.

Moudud, also a former law minister, feared that the government may try to prolong Khaleda's stay in jail by resorting to various tricks. Therefore, she could not be granted bail on health grounds, he said.

The Chief Justice then told the BNP counsel: "We refuse your request for a short order".

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He said BNP chairperson is now facing 36 cases. The apex court deferred the date for the verdict after Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Khaleda's lawyer Zainul Abedin placed some arguments on the appeals yesterday.

The bench of Justices M Enayetur Rahim and Shahidul Karim passed the order in response to a petition that Zia had filed before the court in February, The Daily Star reported.

Zia has challenged her conviction and the five-year jail term in the Orphanage Trust corruption case in the high court.

When the ACC and the State moved the apex court's Appellate Division, it suspended the bail order until May 8, allowing these two to start appeals against the bail.

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