Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds bail for opposition leader Khaleda Zia

Khaleda Zia

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

The HC on March 12 had granted bail to Khaleda, now in jail, in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.

Later, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the government challenged the high court order, taking their appeals to the Appellate Division.

As per reports, this bail will not entitle Zia to walk out of prison as her bail pleas in six other cases were yet to be delivered.

The Bangladesh Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in a corruption case, upholding a March 12 High Court order, PTI reported.

Yesterday the Appellate Division set today to pass its judgment in the appeal case, as it heard the arguments of Attorney General Mahbubey Alam again.

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A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, handed down the order.

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. Court officials said a four-member bench of Supreme Court's Appellate Division headed by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain made a decision to grant Zia bail, upholding a previous High Court order.

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.

The ACC had filed the case on July 3, 2008, against Khaleda, her son Tarique, and four others for misappropriating Tk2.1 crore from the trust fund.

Judge Kamrul Hossain Mollah of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court passed the order after Khaleda's lawyer submitted 11 petitions seeking adjournment of hearings of the cases.

Former prime minister Khaleda was sentenced to five years in jail on February 8 for embezzling donations meant for the orphanage. Later, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda Zia's bail until May 8 in the case.

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