The Supreme Court in Bangladesh on Monday stayed the bail to Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in a graft case till May 8, reported the Dhaka Tribune. The High Court had on March 12 granted interim bail for four months to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief.
The Anti-Corruption Commission and the government had filed two petitions before the Appellate Division led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain challenging Zia’s bail. Zia’s lawyer Kayser Kamal told The Daily Star that it was unprecedented for the Supreme Court to not cite any reason for granting the petition.
Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, who is representing the Anti-Corruption Commission, told the newspaper that the top court has asked them as well as Zia to submit their concise statements within two weeks.
On February 8, Zia was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly embezzling funds that were meant for an orphanage. She 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.