Bangladesh High Court defers judgment on Zia’s bail petition

Special Bangladesh High Court defers judgment on Zia’s bail petition
The former Bangladeshi prime minister has been given five years’ rigorous imprisonment by the lower court on Feb. 8 in connection with the inappropriate handling of the Zia Orphanage Trust fund. (AP)
Updated 25 February 2018

Bangladesh High Court defers judgment on Zia’s bail petition

Bangladesh High Court defers judgment on Zia’s bail petition

DHAKA: The High Court of Bangladesh has deferred the bail petition hearing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia, saying it would decide after receiving necessary papers from the lower court which has sentenced her. These were not at court on Sunday.
On Thursday the High Court directed the trial court to send the records of Khaleda’s case within the next 15 working days. After receiving those records the High Court will declare its verdict on her bail.
Khaleda Zia, 72-year-old and three-time prime minister, has been given five years' rigorous imprisonment by the lower court on Feb. 8 in connection with the inappropriate handling of the Zia Orphanage Trust fund. Her lawyers appealed the verdict at the High Court on Feb. 20 and filed the bail petition on Feb. 22.
“There is no scope of showing any mercy in case of the politicians’ engagement with corruption. Earlier in Bangladesh, one of the former heads of government, Hussain Mohammad Ershad, was given five years in jail by the court and he got bail after three and half years. So, in the case of Begum Zia, why should bail be granted so early?” said Attorney General advocate Mahbubey Alam, chief law officer of the state.
However, Begum Zia’s lawyers have expressed their discontent over the court’s pending decision of her bail petition verdict.
Advocate Sanaullah Miah, one of Zia's lawyers, told Arab News that in the bail petition hearing of a five-year jail case, by law “a trial court’s document is not necessary. It is necessary only during an appeal hearing.”
Dr. Shahdin Malik, a constitution expert and an eminent lawyer, agreed with Sanaullah Miah. Malik said: “Usually the High Court takes this sort of bail decision without calling the trial court records. But, according to law there is no bar in calling the record before declaring the decision of bail petition.”
BNP top leaders are now eyeing the court’s decision on the bail petition and have not yet declared any change in their previous stand not to participate in the coming general elections at the end of this year, demanding the release of their leader first.
“As a senior citizen and former prime minister of the country, I think Khaleda has strong enough ground to avail the bail after receiving the records,” Malik added.