SC upholds Khaleda's bail order; immediate release 'unlikely'

B'desh SC grants bail to ex-PM Zia in graft case

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.

Earlier on February 22, the High Court asked Dhaka Special Judge Court-5, which convicted Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, to send the case documents within 15 days.

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

Right after the pronouncement of the verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam in his reaction said, "If a person secures bail in one case out of five then he or she has to remain behind bars until securing bail in all the remaining cases".

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.

Zia was sentenced to five years in jail on February 8 by a lower court in connection with 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, during her 2001-2006 premiership. Later, the anti-corruption commission and the government challenged the high court order, taking their appeals to the appellate division.

The other accused are former lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, and Khaleda's nephew Mominur Rahman.

Lawyers from both sides said the ruling does not necessarily mean Zia will be released from jail because she's been arrested in connection with three other 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. Therefore, she could not be granted bail on health grounds, he said.

The High Court on Mar 12 granted an interim bail to Khaleda who was jailed on Feb 8 after a trial court convicted her.



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