Supreme Court upholds bail for Khaleda Zia
Published : 16 May 2018, 11:37
Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release from detention of 73-year-old opposition leader Khaleda Zia after her lawyers argued she was unwell.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision to grant Khaleda Zia bail while she appeals against a five-year jail term imposed in February for corruption, said her lawyer Joynal Abedin.
Her lawyers said they told the court that the three-time former prime minister, the arch-rival of current leader Sheikh Hasina, faced serious health risks if kept in prison.
The BNP chief underwent a hospital check-up last month.
The Supreme Court had earlier suspended the lower court's decision to grant Khaleda bail, prompting her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to condemn the move as part of a campaign by Hasina to silence the opposition ahead of a looming national election.
It was not immediately clear, however, when she would be released from the special prison in Dhaka where she is the only inmate.
Abedin said Khaleda was officially considered under arrest in five other cases and she needs to get bail for each one, which may take days or weeks.
"We hope she will be released shortly," Abedin said.
She also faces dozens of separate charges related to violence and corruption.
The BNP leader was jailed for five years in February on charges of embezzling money intended for an orphanage.
Khaleda, who entered politics in the 1980s after her husband Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in a failed coup, has consistently dismissed the charges as politically motivated.
Her party boycotted a 2014 national election in which Hasina was re-elected but is expected to contest the new polls due in December.
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