Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds stay on Khaleda Zia's bail in Comilla murder case; order won't be lifted for a month

Dhaka: Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Monday upheld its order that stayed the bail granted by the High Court to former prime minister Khaleda Zia in a 2015 murder case, dealing a blow to the imprisoned leader.

The decision means that the 72-year-old three-time former prime minister and opposition leader will have to stay in jail for at least another month, even if she secures bail in other cases, bdnews24 reported.

Zia, the chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was jailed for five years in February in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about $ 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician.

 Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds stay on Khaleda Zias bail in Comilla murder case; order wont be lifted for a month

File image of Khaleda Zia. Reuters

According to the report, a four-member appellate bench led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain upheld the stay on the High Court decision granting Zia bail in the Comilla murder case over the firebombing of a bus in February 2015.

The apex court also asked the High Court to hear and dispose of the case over the bail in four weeks.

Eight people were killed in the bomb attack during the BNP-Jamaat alliance's protests.

Two separate cases including one for murder were filed over the incident.

After the 2015 incident, a warrant was issued for Zia's arrest after police filed the chargesheet in the two cases.

The Comilla Chief Judicial Magistrate's court then ordered Zia to be brought for a hearing on 26 March.

She is yet to be brought to court due to her illness.

Zia's imprisonment has led to a question mark over the BNP's participation in the elections in December as the party said it would not take part in the polls without her.

The BNP-led four-party alliance, with fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami being a crucial partner, boycotted the last elections in 2014, protesting against prime minister Sheikh Hasina's scrapping of the practice of having a caretaker government oversee elections.

The BNP had termed the elections as "farcical".

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Updated Date: Jul 02, 2018 17:09:54 IST