Ex-Premier Zia avoids arrest as Bangladesh court grants bail
Bangladesh's opposition chief and former premier Khaleda Zia was today granted bail in two graft cases after she appeared in a court here, leaving her office for the first time in nearly three months, amid signs that the country's deadly political logjam was easing.world Updated: Apr 05, 2015 17:15 IST
Bangladesh's opposition chief and former premier Khaleda Zia was today granted bail in two graft cases after she appeared in a court here, leaving her office for the first time in nearly three months, amid signs that the country's deadly political logjam was easing.
Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadder approved Zia's request for bail when she surrendered to court in the capital, Dhaka.
Zia left her office for the first since January 5, when authorities had initially barred her from leaving to attend an anti-government rally calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her archrival.
Authorities later said she was free to move to her nearby residence, but Zia refused, vowing to continue with anti-government protests that have turned violent, leaving nearly 115 people dead since the beginning of the year.
Zia's lawyers have rejected allegations that she illegally collected more than $1 million in donations for a charity during her last premiership in 2001-2006, and say the charges are politically motivated, which authorities deny.
The trial began early last year.
The court had issued an arrest warrant for Zia in February after she failed to appear to answer the charges against her. Prosecutors on Sunday did not oppose Zia's bail request.
Zia currently leads a 20-party opposition alliance that has been enforcing a nonstop transportation blockade across the South Asian country since early January to demand that Hasina resign and a new election be called.
The blockade began after a year of relative calm following a January 2014 election that was boycotted by Zia's party. The boycott allowed Hasina to come to power with an overwhelming majority, and she says there is no need for another election before 2019, when her five-year term ends.