Bangladesh Ex-Premier Zia Gets Bail in Five Cases

Anisur Rahman/Dhaka
Bangladesh Ex-Premier Zia Gets Bail in Five Cases

Bangladesh's beleaguered former prime minister Khaleda Zia today surrendered before separate courts and got bail in five cases, including the one in which she is accused of instigating a deadly petrol bomb attack on a bus during anti-government protests last year.

The five cases in which she secured bail are -- Jatrabari arson attack and killing case, Gatco graft case, a case filed over a crude bomb attack on a procession led by Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and a sedition case.

The 70-year-old Bangladesh Nationalist Party's (BNP) chief was also exempted from personal appearance in the cases filed over Jatrabari arson attack and the crude bomb attack on Khan's procession.

Her motorcade reached court premises around 10:30 AM after which Zia appeared before five separate courts.

She first surrendered to the court of Metropolitan Sessions Judge in the case initiated under the Special Powers Act over the bus attack.

The development came six days after the court issued an arrest warrant against Zia and 37 others in connection with instigating a deadly petrol bomb attack on a bus during an anti-government protests last year.

Zia's counsels petitioned for bail, which the court accepted.

She then turned to the court of Dhaka's Special Judge in the Gatco graft case filed by the Anti Corruption Commission and pleaded for bail.

Zia had moved the High Court challenging the legality of the case. But her plea was turned down and she was asked to surrender to the trial court. The court granted bail upon a Taka 100,000 bond.

The former prime minister then went to the court of Dhaka's Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and petitioned for bail in three cases.

The court of Metropolitan Magistrate Rashed Talukder granted bail in the case over a man's death in the Jatrabarhi firebombing.

After surrendering in the case over bomb attacks on a rally led by Khan, the former prime minister was given bail by Metropolitan Magistrate Kaisarul Alam.

The last court appearance Khaleda made was over the sedition charges for her remarks over 1971 martyrs. Awami League leader and Supreme Court lawyer Momtaz Uddin Ahmed Mehedi had filed the case, after which the court summoned her.

The court of Metropolitan Magistrate Jakir Hossain Tipu accepted the BNP chief's bail petition.

Hundreds of BNP supporters and leaders surrounded the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court complex in old Dhaka as police in riot gear kept a sharp vigil while Zia was in court.

The arson attack case against Zia is from the time when she was spearheading a violent nationwide campaign to topple Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling Awami League government.

Zia was charged by police with masterminding the arson attack on the bus that left one person dead and 30 others injured, nine critically.

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