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Appeal on Sheikh Hasina case deffered

world Updated: Feb 12, 2008 17:52 IST

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Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred for a week the government appeal seeking a stay on a High Court judgment, which declared "illegal" an extortion case against former premier Sheikh Hasina.

The full bench of the Supreme Court's Appellate Division chaired by Chief Justice Mohammad Ruhul Amin ordered a 'status quo' and asked Attorney General Fida M Kamal to file a regular "leave to appeal" by February 19 against last week's High Court judgment.

"The Appellate Division did not stay the High Court order. It asked the government to file a regular leave to appeal against the HC verdict by February 19," Hasina's counsel Shafique Ahmed told newsmen.

Kamal earlier argued for a stay on the High Court verdict saying, "The HC verdict in the case has far-reaching implications. The court should, therefore, stay the verdict."

His office said they would now wait for the written copy of the February 6 judgment, which ruled that the extortion case filed against Hasina under the Emergency Power Rules (EPR) was illegal as the alleged offence took place before the promulgation of the emergency in the country.

The verdict prompted the government to instantly file a "civil miscellaneous petition" seeking to stay the judgement.

The ex-premier was being tried by the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's court in an extortion case filed by businessmen Ajam J Chowdhury, who alleged that he was forced to pay nearly 3 crore (about 435,000) to clear a power project while her Awami League government was in power from 1996 to 2001.