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Court orders Zia's release on bail

world Updated: Sep 30, 2007 15:58 IST

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Bangladesh's High Court on Sunday ordered release of former prime minister Khaleda Zia on bail more than three weeks after she was arrested along with her younger son on graft charges.

A bench comprising Justices Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Zubayer Rahman issued the order on a writ filed by the lawyers of Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief three days ago.

The court also asked the military-backed interim government to explain why its move to try Zia, 62, under tough emergency powers rules (EPR) should not be declared illegal and ordered suspension of her prosecution under the law in question.

It, however, declined to grant bail to her son Arafat Rahman Koko, who along with his mother challenged in High Court the legality of their trial under tough emergency powers rules.

Zia and Koko were arrested on September 3 from their Dhaka Cantonment residence under the government's massive anti-graft drive after the powerful Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a graft case under the emergency rules that also barred their release on bail.

Zia's archrival ex-premier Sheikh Hasina has also been detained on several corruption charges since July and the two leaders have been lodged in the make-shift jail in parliament complex.

The Awami League Chief had obtained a similar order for bail but it was subsequently stayed by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on a government petition.

A High Court bench is expected to give a decision on Hasina's petition next week.