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Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds bail for opposition leader

17 May 2018

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the short-order petition filed by Khaleda Zia's lawyer on its previous judgement that upheld the bail order in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. As reported by the Daily Star, the Supreme Court has appointed a four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain to hear the pleas. 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.

Earlier on March 12, the high court had granted a bail to Khaleda.

Earlier on February 8, 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 was sentenced to five years in prison on February 8 for allegedly embezzling funds that were meant for an orphanage.

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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".

BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed said, "Khaleda Zia won't be released from jail now as she will have to take bail in six more cases". Therefore, she could not be granted bail on health grounds, he said.

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.

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The BNP chief was jailed for five years on February 8 over the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about United States dollars 2,50,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her husband late Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician.

They had also said that Zia challenged her conviction in the High Court and "let her get acquitted there", but now she did not deserve the bail for her sickness as the medical board, which had examined her, had not recommended that she be hospitalised, which could have been the ground for her bail.

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Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds bail for opposition leader