Bdesh SC grants bail to ex-PM Khaleda Zia in graft case

Bangladesh Supreme Court to Give Verdict on Pleas Challenging Khaleda Zia's Bail

Bdesh SC grants bail to ex-PM Khaleda Zia in 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.

The Supreme Court had earlier suspended the lower court's decision to grant Zia bail, prompting her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to condemn the move as part of a campaign by Hasina to silence the opposition ahead of a looming national election.

The bench dismissed the appeals filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the government challenging the High Courts bail to Zia.

Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release from detention of 72-year-old opposition leader Khaleda Zia after her lawyers argued she was unwell.

A four-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain was set to hand down the judgment yesterday. The High Court is the lower division of the Supreme Court.

In February, a trial court convicted Zia and also sentenced her son, Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years in prison for involvement in the case. Court officials said a four-member bench of Supreme Court's Appellate Division headed by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain chose to grant Zia bail, upholding a previous High Court order.

"We expect to secure her bail in the pending cases as well", Zias lawyer Joynal Abedin said.

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.

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 jail for more than three months in the graft case for misusing power and embezzling about $250,000 involving a trust fund named after her late husband, former President Ziaur Rahman.

On March 15, the ACC and the state filed two leave-to-appeal petitions before the Appellate Division challenging Khaleda Zia's bail.

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