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Ex-Bangladesh PM Zia gets bail in corruption case

Press Trust of India  |  Dhaka 

Bangladesh's ex-today received a temporary relief after a top court granted the a four-month bail in a corruption case, a month after she was sentenced to five years in jail.

Zia, 72, was sentenced to five years in jail on February 8 in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about USD 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a

The in Dhaka today granted the of the Nationalist Party (BNP) a four-month interim bail.

"The bench granted her bail for four months and simultaneously ordered authorities to prepare arguments on her appeal against the conviction and imprisonment," a said.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice said it considered Zia's age factor as one of the reasons for granting the bail, the said.

Court officials said the bail was granted after reviewing the case documents received from the trial court.

The court said it was granting the former interim bail considering four grounds after hearing both parties.

The four grounds are the lower term of her sentence, the paper book has not been prepared yet, she appeared before the court and did not abuse her bail during trial, and her age and health condition.

The bench, however, stayed the fine of Taka 2.10 crore slapped on Zia.

On February 8, the court had also sentenced five other accused, including Khaleda's son and BNP's acting Tarique Rahman, to 10 years' imprisonment and fined them Tk2.1 crore each. Tarique, who is in the UK now, and Mominur Rahman, nephew of late Ziaur Rahman, are still shown as fugitives in the case documents.

Mahbubey Alam, who represented the state, said they would appeal against Khaleda's bail order.

We have already started the process to file the appeal. Hopefully, we will be able to file it tomorrow (Tuesday), he told reporters at his office after today's ruling.

The verdict against Zia had jolted the country's political scenario ahead of this year's

The BNP has claimed that the cases are politically-motivated to keep its out of the national elections.

told newsmen that the order today proved the had no interference in the case.

The corruption case is one of dozens pending against Zia, who has been a rival of Sheikh for decades.

The charges against her had already led to her boycotting polls in 2014, which triggered widespread protests at the time.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 18:20 IST