Bangladesh Supreme Court Upholds Former PM Khaleda Zia's Bail

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Bangladesh's Supreme Court yesterday upheld a High Court's decision to grant bail to opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who was jailed for five years on a corruption conviction.

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".

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

However, the Supreme Court order will not pave the way for 72-year-old Khaleda to walk out of prison as her lawyers said she was being held behind bars in some other cases also.

"We have to try to seek bail in other cases as early as possible".

On 15 March, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the state filed two separate leave-to-appeal petitions before the apex court challenging the Khaleda Zia's bail order by the High Court.

After hearing arguments on Tuesday, the Appellate Division set Wednesday to deliver its order on the two petitions filed challenging Khaleda's bail granted by the High Court.

He hoped that the High Court will soon start hearing on the petition.

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.

The 72-year-old Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson was jailed for five years on February 8 over the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about Dollars 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her husband late Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician.

The Appellate Division also asked the state, ACC and the defence to submit the concise statements on their respective appeals in the case within two weeks and set May 8 for holding hearing in the matter.

On February 8, the Special Judge's Court-5 of Dhaka sentenced Khaleda to jail after it had found her and five others guilty in the graft case.

Zia has been in the old jailhouse on Nazimuddin Road, Dhaka after she was convicted in the case. Later, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda Zia's bail until May 8 in the case.