Zia Orphanage Trust graft case: Khaleda's bail stayed until May 8

Nellie Chapman
March 20, 2018

"Adjourned till March 18 and stay", the apex court said, asking the ACC and state to file regular leave to appeal pleas by that day.

Former Bangladeshi prime minister Khaleda Zia will have to stay in prison until May, after the country's top court yesterday stayed a temporary bail order for her following a petition by government lawyers.

Lawyer of Khaleda Zia filed a petition to the apex court seeking withdrawal of its stay order hours after issuance of it.

Earlier on Tuesday, Appellate Division chamber judge Justice Hasan Foez Siddique sent the two petitions to the full bench of the division without passing any order. "The ACC has taken the decision to seek stricter punishment", Khurshid Alam Khan, a lawyer for the ACC, told bdnews24.com on Monday.

On February 22 last, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia filed a petition with the High Court seeking bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

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Zia, 72, was sentenced to five years in jail on 8 February in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about $2,50,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician.

Zia's conviction in the graft case has made her chances of contesting the next general election against her arch political rival, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, exceedingly slim, as Bangladeshi law disqualifies anyone imprisoned for at least two years for moral turpitude from running for office.

It also sentenced other five accused, including Khaleda's elder son and BNP Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman, to 10-year imprisonment each.

According to legal experts, even if Zia would have got the bail, she was unlikely to be released from jail as she was shown "arrested" in another criminal case under a separate arrest warrant by a court in central Comilla district.

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