The Bangladesh High Court granted bail to Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on Thursday, BDNews24 reported. Zia was sentenced to five years in prison on February 8 for allegedly embezzling funds that were meant for an orphanage.
The bench of Justices M Enayetur Rahim and Shahidul Karim passed the order in response to a petition that Zia had filed before the court in February, The Daily Star reported. The judges reportedly considered her health condition and her short jail term before granting her the bail.
The court is now preparing to hear Zia’s appeal against her conviction. On Monday, it directed the government to prepare the case file within four months.
Zia and five others, including her son Tarique Rahman, were accused of embezzling 21 million takas (approximately Rs 1.6 crore) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, which was established during her rule between 2001 and 2006. The court sentenced the other five people to 10 years in jail.
The prosecution had said that the Zia Orphanage Trust and the Zia Charitable Trust, established in the name of Zia’s late husband and former President Ziaur Rahman, existed only on paper. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief and three aides had also been accused of embezzling 31.5 million takas (approximately Rs 2.5 crore) from the Zia Charitable Trust.