Khaleda Zia’s immediate release ‘unlikely’

16 May 2018, 15:43

NTV Online

Dhaka: The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the High Court order that had granted bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

Lawyers from both sides, however, said the order does not necessarily mean Khaleda Zia will be released from jail because she has been shown arrested in connection with other cases.

A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the order after hearing two leave-to-appeal petitions filed over the issue.

The SC also issued an order to dispose of the appeal petitions by July 31.

Right after the pronouncement of the verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam in his reaction said, ‘If a person secures bail in one case out of five then he or she has to remain behind bars until securing bail in all the remaining cases. I’ve no idea about how many cases have been filed against Khaleda Zia.’ 

Necessary initiatives will be taken later over the HC order to dispose of the appeal petitions of Khaleda Zia by July 31, he said.

Asked in how many cases Khaleda was arrested, the Attorney General said, ‘I don’t know about it….the Ministry of Home Affairs can say better.’

Meanwhile, BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed said, ‘Khaleda Zia won’t be released from jail now as she will have to take bail in six more cases.’

Expressing satisfaction over the judgment, Khaleda’s lawyer Kayser Kamal told UNB,’ Our client got justice from the Supreme Court.’

He also hoped that Khaleda Zia will be released soon as there was no barrier to her release. ‘Khaleda Zia will be released soon if the government doesn’t interfere,’ Kayser added.

He also said if the government shows her arrested in other cases they will move to the High Court.

After hearing arguments on Tuesday, the Appellate Division set Wednesday to deliver its order on the two petitions filed challenging Khaleda’s bail granted by the High Court.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, the Attorney General appealed to the court for holding more arguments in the case.

On May 9 last, a four-member Appellate Division bench, led by the Chief Justice, fixed Tuesday for delivering the order after closing a two-day hearing on the two petitions.

The SC on May 8 adjourned until May 9 the hearing on the petitions filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the state against Khaleda’s bail.

On March 19, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda’s bail until May 8 in the graft case in which she was convicted by the lower court.

The Dhaka Special Court-5 convicted the former Prime Minister and BNP chairperson and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. She was then sent to old central jail at Nazimuddin Road in the city on February 8 last.

She secured four months’ bail from the High Court in the case on March 12.

On March 15, the ACC and the state filed two leave-to-appeal petitions before the Appellate Division challenging Khaleda Zia’s bail. Later, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda Zia’s bail until May 8 in the case.