Dhaka, Bangladesh
Khaleda's bail stalls

Khaleda's bail stalls

SC upholds stay in Cumilla case

News Desk Party seniors and her lawyers came out downhearted as BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's freedom from jail on bail stalled following a latest court order. "It's unfortunate... Begum Zia won't get freedom without government's goodwill," Khandaker Mahbub Hossain told reporters while coming out from the apex court, accompanied by party leaders, including BNP secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. "Such statements are tantamount to contempt of court," said Mahbubey Alam, the attorney-general, who stood for the state in the appeal case, in an instant response to the defence counsel. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court Monday upheld its previous order staying the High Court order that had granted bail to Khaleda Zia in the murder case filed over the arson attack in Cumilla on February 3, 2015 amid flare-ups of protests against the last polls that the BNP and some other parties had boycotted. A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the order disposing of the leave-to-appeal petition filed by the state side in the case. The SC also ordered disposing of within four weeks the HC rule asking for explanation why Khaleda Zia should not be given permanent bail in the case. Following the order, the SC stay on the High Court order will continue, and the convicted former prime minister would have to stay behind bars for at least over four weeks. On June 24, the Supreme Court had fixed July 2 to pass its order on the leave-to-appeal plea against the High Court order that had granted bail to Khaleda Zia. On May 28, the High Court granted bail for six months to the BNP chief in two cases filed in Cumilla. On May 29, chamber judge of the Appellate Division stayed the bail following an appeal by state and fixed May 31 for hearing in full bench. On May 31, the Appellate Division had extended till June 24 its previous order staying the High Court order having granted her bail in the two cases filed in Cumilla. Eight people were killed and at least 20 injured when miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at a bus at Jogmohanpur in Chouddagram of Cumilla district on February 3, 2015 during the BNP-led alliance's movement. Two cases were filed against Khaleda in this connection. On February 8, she was sent to jail after a special court sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. Meanwhile, another of the twin trust cases-Zia Charitable Trust Case-is also under court proceedings. Amid such developments, a cloud of uncertainties hover over her prospect of leading her party from the field to the upcoming general election, too, as the vote is not far off now, analysts say. The poll schedule is likely in late October. (Inputs taken from UNB and agencies)

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