Dhaka, March 14
Bangladesh’s jailed former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on Thursday filed a plea in the Supreme Court, challenging a High Court verdict that enhanced her punishment to 10 years imprisonment from five years in a corruption case.
In the petition, Zia, 73, prayed to the apex court to suspend her punishment and grant her bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust Corruption case.
The Appellate Division is yet to fix any date for hearing the petition.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief is serving a 10-year term in a special structure of the old Dhaka Central Jail. Her party suffered a miserable defeat in the December 30 elections bagging only six seats in 300-seat parliament.
The ex-premier’s conviction on a charge of “moral turpitude” debarred her from contesting the polls.
“The lower court sentenced Zia to five years in jail in the case, but the High Court passed an order doubling the jail term in the case (and) therefore we filed the appeal seeking stay order on effectiveness of her punishment and her bail,” Zia’s lawyer Kaisar Kamal told newsmen.
The lawyer claimed that the High Court “unfairly, unjustly and unreasonably” enhanced Zia’s punishment while she did not commit any corruption.
Zia landed in jail after a court on February 8 last year gave her a five-year prison term on charges of embezzling foreign donations meant for an orphanage, named after her husband and BNP’s founder slain president Ziaur Rahman, during her 2001-2006 premiership.
Following a petition filed by Anti-corruption Commission, the High Court on October 30 last year increased the punishment of Zia to 10 years imprisonment from five years in the graft case.
Zia facing several other pending criminal and graft charges as well and legal process are underway to initiate her trial in those cases as well. — PTI
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