Khaleda Zia granted bail in corruption case

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The 72-year-old leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was jailed for five years last month after she was convicted of embezzling money meant for an orphanage, a charge she had consistently dismissed as politically motivated.

"The bench granted her bail for four months and simultaneously ordered authorities to prepare arguments on her appeal against the conviction and imprisonment", a court official said.

"The warrant Monday reached the Central Jail ordering her appearance before the judge in Comilla", an official said on condition of anonymity.

Court officials said the bail was granted after reviewing the case documents received from the trial court.

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The High Court approved the petition for bail considering Zia's age, her health and the fact that an appeal was pending in the case, reported.

The court also sentenced Zia's son, Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years in prison for involvement in the case. The High Court, however, granted her interim bail on Monday, but Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said his office would contest it in the Appellate Division on Tuesday. They had though that there would be a tough movement in the country after the arrest of Khaleda Zia.

Zia is a two-term prime minister whose bitter rivalry with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has defined Bangladeshi politics for years. The BNP has alleged that the ruling regime was out to keep their leader in jail with a slew of fabricated cases.

"As a registered political party, BNP reserves the right to take part in the polls".