Bangladesh: Former prime minister Khaleda Zia granted bail

With three more pending cases against Zia, opposition leader unlikely to be released from jail right now, lawyers say.

    Zia has served two terms as prime minister of Bangladesh [File: AM Ahad/AP]
    Zia has served two terms as prime minister of Bangladesh [File: AM Ahad/AP]

    Bangladesh's Supreme Court has granted bail to the country's former prime minister and leader of the main opposition party, Khaleda Zia, three months after she was imprisoned over a corruption conviction. 

    The top court upheld an earlier High Court decision in the capital, Dhaka, on Wednesday, granting bail to Zia, who sentenced to five years for fraud.

    Lawyers from both sides said the ruling does not necessarily mean Zia, chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), will be released from jail because she has been arrested in connection with three other cases.

    The government had appealed a March verdict by the High Court granting her bail for four months.

    Zia, who served two terms as prime minister from 1991-96 and again from 2001-2006, was sentenced on February 8 over her alleged embezzlement of funds meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust.

    {articleGUID}

    The court also convicted Tarique Rahman - Zia's elder son - and four others of corruption, sentencing each to 10 years in prison.

    The six were accused of embezzling over Tk 21 million ($252,000) of a donation to the trust.

    The BNP has said its participation in Bangladesh's upcoming elections, scheduled to be held in December, is reliant on the provision of a free and fair vote and Zia's release.

    Lord Alex Carlile QC, a member of Zia's legal team, told Al Jazeera he had "not seen any evidence whatsoever that could justify prosecuting the former prime minister, let alone convicting her "following a review of all the "relevant" documents.

    "I have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that this client has been involved in any fraud," he said earlier this month. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.