Bangladesh Supreme Court stays Khaleda Zia’s bail in orphanage graft case

Dhaka: The Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Monday stayed Dhaka High Court’s order which granted bail to former Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. The top court stayed the bail until May 8. A full bench of the Appellate Division led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order. On Thursday, according to the Daily Star, the Bangladesh government and the Anti-Corruption Commission had filed two separate leave-to-appeal petitions with the Bangladesh SC challenging the grant of bail to Khaleda by the High Court.

Last week, the former Bangladesh premier secured a four-month bail after she was handed five years of imprisonment by a Bangladesh court in the orphanage graft case. Her bail was considered on four grounds, including her health condition.

Last month, Khaleda was been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The case relates to corruption over the misuse of funds in a charity named after former President Zia-ur-Rahman, the former’s husband, who was assassinated in 1981.

It had also sentenced her eldest son and BNP Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others for at least 10 years with a fine of 2.10 crore Bangladeshi takas (Tk). The Anti-Corruption Commission had earlier filed a case in 2008 with Ramna Police Station in Dhaka, accusing six persons including Khaleda and Tarique.

Courts in Bangladesh have a long tradition of granting bail to a convict or an accused if the person is a woman. Khaleda has been suffering from various chronic degenerative medical conditions. The 73-year-old leader is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06.

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Free Press Journal