Appeal against Khaleda's bail goes to full bench tomorrow

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Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia is set to be released from jail after a court on Monday granted her bail, her lawyer said.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Zia, 72, was sentenced to five years in jail on February 8 in connection with the embezzlement of Taka 21 million (about US$ 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband, military ruler-turned-politician Ziaur Rahman.

Earlier, the high court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim said it considered Zia's age as one of the reasons for granting her bail.

Mahbubey Alam, the country's attorney general, said after Monday's ruling that a move against the bail order would be made in the High Court on Tuesday.

The HC was scheduled to pass an order on her petition on Sunday but deferred it as the documentsrelating to the lower court verdict in the graft case did not reach the department concerned of the HCin time.

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Her lawyer Zainul Abedin told reporters the court had agreed to an interim bail of four months.

The court also jailed her elder son Tarique Rahman, now acting chairman of the BNP, and four others for 10 years and fined them Tk 2.1 crore.

Speaking to newsmen while inspecting the fix work of the Dhaka-Tangail four-lane highway in Chandra of Gazipur, the AL leader also claimed that the ruling party has no desire to keep BNP out of the next polls slated to be held at the year end.

Her party boycotted the 2014 polls in which Hasina was re-elected but is expected to contest the upcoming general election.