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Khaleda Zia may be released next week

Detained former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, languishing in prison for over a year on graft charges, may be freed on bail by next week, her lawyers have claimed.

world Updated: Sep 05, 2008 13:31 IST

Detained former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, languishing in prison for over a year on graft charges, may be freed on bail by next week, her lawyers have claimed.

However, she will have to go through legal procedures for her release, a senior government leader has said.

"We expect her to be released as she now needs bail from courts in only two cases," the Prothom Alo newspaper quoted one of Zia's counsels as saying, a day after her high profile elder son Tarique Rahman, who was being tried in a number graft charges was released.

The lawyer's comment came as Commerce Adviser of the interim cabinet Hossain Zillur Rahman said yesterday that the government was "advancing the political process" without hampering the legal procedure for the release of Zia, the chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

"She (Zia) has to seek bail in all the cases she is facing... She will be released once she is granted bail," Rahman told newsmen.

Zia's archrival Sheikh Hasina of Awami League was released on a government "executive order" in June this year for treatment abroad.

The government at that time had said a process was underway to free the BNP chief in identical manner.

Both the former premiers have been charged under a number of corruption cases as part of a massive anti-graft campaign launched by the interim government soon after its installation with crucial military support after the January 11, 2007 proclamation of the state of emergency.