Former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia challenges seven-year-sentence in corruption case

Dhaka: Bangladesh's former prime minister Khaleda Zia on Sunday challenged the seven-year sentence handed out to her in a corruption case for embezzling millions from a charitable trust in her late husband's name, claiming that she has been convicted "illegally and unjustly".

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief challenged the trial court's decision four days after receiving the full text of the verdict announced on 29 October.

"The 638-page decision and the 700-page appeal petition also include a petition for bail," said her lawyer Kayser Kamal after submitting the petition to the High Court on Sunday, the bdnews reported.

 Former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia challenges seven-year-sentence in corruption case

File image of Khaleda Zia. Reuters

"The BNP chairperson has been convicted illegally and unjustly," he was quoted as saying by the daily.

"We have appealed for her sentence to be dismissed and for her release. A High Court bench will be formed to decide on the appeal," he said.

The trial court in its verdict in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case found the former prime minister guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 and sentenced her to seven years in prison and fined her Tk 1 million.

Zia, 73, has been in custody since 8 February, when she was sentenced to five years in prison in another case related to embezzlement of funds of an orphanage named after her husband late president Ziaur Rahman.

The latest sentence, which comes ahead of general elections in December, is related to the Zia Charitable Trust.

According to the case, Zia and three others abused their power and collected $375,000 for the trust from unknown sources.

The Zia Charitable Trust graft case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2011.

The judge granted the three other suspects in the case the same sentence for abetting corrupt activity under the Penal Code.

The court order also allowed the government to seize the 70 decimals of land bought in the name of the Zia Charitable Trust.

Updated Date: Nov 18, 2018 20:01:22 IST