The Bangladesh Supreme Court on Sunday upheld the High Court’s decision to grant six-month interim bail to jailed former prime minister Khaleda Zia in an arson case, reported bdnews24. A four-member appellate division bench, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed a “no order” on a government petition seeking to dismiss the High Court’s order, which was passed on August 6.
However, the 72-year-old leader will remain in prison as there are other cases pending against her.
On February 3, 2015, eight passengers were killed when a petrol bomb was thrown at their bus in Cumilla district’s Chauddagram area during protests organised by Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. An arrest warrant was issued for Zia’s arrest after two separate cases – one for murder and another under the Explosives Act – were filed in connection with the incident.
“The appellate division has issued a ‘no order’ on the appeal by the state,” said Khaleda Zia’s lawyer AKM Ehsanur Rahman. “The top court did not order any stay. This means the six-month interim bail granted by the High Court will be maintained.”
The three-time former prime minister has been in jail since February 8, when a special court found her guilty of corruption in a corruption case related to the Zia Orphanage Trust. Zia and five others, including her son Tarique Rahman, are accused of embezzling 21 million takas (approximately Rs 1.6 crore) in foreign donations meant for the trust, which was established during her rule between 2001 and 2006.