The High Court yesterday granted bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for six months in two defamation cases.
The HC bench of Justice Muhammad Abdul Hafiz and Justice Ahmed Sohel passed the orders following two separate bail petitions filed by the former prime minister.
However, Khaleda cannot get released from jail as she is convicted in two graft cases, AKM Ehsanur Rahman, a lawyer for Khaleda, told The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told this correspondent that he will take a decision after consulting with the government about moving an appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, challenging the HC’s bail orders for Khaleda Zia.
AB Siddique, president of Bangladesh Jananetri Parishad, a pro-AL organisation, filed the cases against her on charges of hurting religious sentiments of Muslims and making derogatory comments on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He filed one case with a Dhaka court on October 21, 2014, claiming that on October 14 of the same year, Khaleda at a programme at the Engineers Institution in Dhaka said “the ruling party’s [AL] professed secularism was nothing but a sham”. He said her remarks hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.
He filed the other defamation case against Khaleda with another Dhaka court on January 25, 2017, claiming that she had made derogatory remarks on Sheikh Mujib.
Khaleda filed two bail petitions with the HC on May 22.
She landed in jail on February 8 last year after being convicted in a corruption case involving the Zia Orphanage Trust, filed during the 2007-08 military-backed caretaker government rule.
A Dhaka court on October 29 last year sentenced her to seven years in jail in Zia Charitable Trust case filed with Tejgaon Police Station on August 8, 2011.
The HC on October 31 last year increased her jail sentence to 10 years in that case.
The HC on April 30 this year accepted the BNP chairperson’s appeal to quash a trial court verdict that sentenced her to seven years in jail in Zia Charitable Trust case and ordered the lower court officials to submit the case documents before it in two months for examining.
AJ Mohammad Ali appeared in court for Khaleda while Deputy Attorney General Fazlur Rahman Khan opposed the bail petitions yesterday.