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 has been serving a five-year jail term. The High Court is the lower division of the Supreme Court.
A four-member bench of the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain dismissed appeals filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the government challenging the High Court’s order, reported Dhaka Tribune. The top court also directed the High Court to dispose of the hearing of Zia’s appeal against her conviction and imprisonment by July 31.
Zia’s lawyer Khandakar Mahbub Hossain told The Daily Star that the 72-year-old chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party cannot be released from jail despite Wednesday’s judgment, as she has been arrested in three other cases.
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.
On February 8, a court in Dhaka had sentenced Zia to five years in prison for allegedly embezzling funds meant for an orphanage. The court sentenced all others to 10 years in jail.