Dhaka, Bangladesh
SC confirms Khaleda bail

SC confirms Khaleda bail

She stays in jail getting entangled in other pending cases

News Report Former prime minister and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia Wednesday got her bail confirmed by the apex court in a graft case, but she couldn't walk to freedom. She is entangled in some other cases pending with lower courts, and hence stays behind bars, state attorneys said. "We're fighting a legal battle and Khaleda Zia will be freed soon," said one of her lawyers Joynul Abedin, who is also president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, in its order passed following exhaustive hearings, upheld the High Court order that had granted bail to the ex-PM in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the bail order. The highest court issued the order after hearing two leave-to-appeal petitions filed by the state and the national anti-graft body against the HC bail order. Beyond the scheduled hearings, the SC also heard the attorney general Tuesday, the day originally fixed for judgment. Her party and counsel fretted that a protracted legal process held their leader in jail longer than expected in such a matter. The SC also issued an order to dispose of the appeal petitions by July 31. After hearing last-ditch arguments on Tuesday, the Appellate Division set Wednesday to deliver its order on the twin petitions. Earlier on Tuesday morning, the Attorney General appealed to the court for holding more arguments in the case. On May 9, 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. On May 8, the SC had adjourned until May 9 the hearing on the petitions filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the state against the Khaleda bail.On March 19, the Appellate Division had stayed the bail until May 8 in the graft case in which she was convicted by a lower court. The Dhaka Special Court-5 convicted the former prime minister sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8. She secured four months' bail from the High Court in the case on March 12. On March 15, the ACC and the state filed the leave-to-appeal petitions before the Appellate Division to block the bail. Later, the Appellate Division stayed the bail until May 8. The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the short-order petition filed by Khaleda Zia's lawyer on its previous judgement that upheld the bail order in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. Assuring the BNP lawyers of releasing the full order soon, the Supreme Court said there is no rule for the Appellate Division to release any short order in advance on its judgement. A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the order around 11:30 am after delivering its order on the bail pleas in the graft case. Khaleda's counsel AJ Mohammad Ali filed a petition before the court seeking a short order for submitting bail bond on the judgment. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said, "Khaleda Zia has been shown arrested in a number of cases. Besides, there's no provision to pass a short order from the Appellate Division." Justice Iman Ali also said, "There's no provision to pass such an order." The Chief Justice then told the BNP counsel, "We refuse your prayer on short order." At one stage, AJ Mohammad Ali told the court, "I've come to the court alone, not in a group." In an instant reaction, Justice Mirza Hussain Haider, another member of the bench, said, "You can't force the court." Later, the Chief Justice said, "We don't pass order considering any group." However, Mohammad Ali apologised to the court and said, "The court can react, but the court doesn't allow us (lawyers) to react." Justice Hasan Foez Siddique then asked AJ Mohammad Ali why he was arguing with the Chief Justice as he has already refused to issue any short order.

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