Khaleda Zia granted bail in corruption case

FILE- In this Dec. 28, 2017 file photo, Bangladesh's former prime minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia, center, leaves after a court appearance in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh's High Court has accepted an appeal by former Zia of her five-year prison sentence in a corruption case. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad, File)

Dhaka, A Bangladesh court on Monday granted four months interim bail to former Prime Minister and the country’s main opposition leader Khaleda Zia in a corruption case.

Zia, 72, was sentenced to five years in jail on February 8 for embezzling $252,000 in foreign donations for the Zia Orphanage Trust.

The High Court approved the petition for bail considering Zia’s age, her health and the fact that an appeal was pending in the case, reported.

One of Zia’s lawyers, Masud Ahmed, told Efe news that the leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) might not be released if other courts, that have issued arrest warrants against her, require her to stay in prison.

Zia is facing more than a dozen cases of corruption, violence and sedition, charges which have also been slapped on hundreds of BNP members, according to the party.

The country witnessed a tense situation after her arrest and the government deployed security forces fearing opposition violence, but the BNP response was generally limited to peaceful protests and human chains.

This was in contrast to widespread violence that gripped the country in January 2015, on the anniversary of the 2014 elections — boycotted by the BNP — lasting three months and which left 120 people dead while hundreds were injured.