Bangladesh’s Khaleda Zia may get extension to stay out of jail

Dhaka: The Bangladesh Law Ministry on Monday recommended extending a freeze on the jail sentences of opposition leader Khaleda Zia by six months in two corruption cases.

The recommendation was sent out to the Home Ministry earlier in the day, bdnews24 quoted the Law Ministry as saying in a statement.

The 76-year-old former Prime Minister and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief had served 25 months out of 17 years of prison sentences in two graft cases — Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust — before she was released last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On July 3, 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against the former Prime Minister, her son and BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others accusing them of misappropriating Tk2.1 crore of donations meant for a trust to be formed in her husband’s name.

On February 8, 2018, a special court convicted Khaleda and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the case.

On January 28, 2019, the High Court released the full text of its verdict, raising Zia’s prison term in the graft case to 10 years.

Meanwhile, the BNP chief and three others were sentenced to seven years in jail in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case on October 29, 2018.