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Former Bangladesh premier Khaleda Zia sentenced to seven years in jail in graft case

Begum Khaleda Zia is a former Bangladesh prime minister and the chief of main opposition party BNP.

Former Bangladesh premier Khaleda Zia sentenced to seven years in jail in graft case
Image Courtesy: Reuters

DHAKA: Former Bangladesh prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia was on Monday sentenced to seven years in jail in a graft case by a trial court.

The Islamic country's top court had earlier paved the way for the lower court to deliver its verdict in a graft case against the imprisoned ex-prime minister and main opposition party BNP chief, Khaleda Zia, while also rejecting her plea to halt the proceedings. 

The apex court rejected a leave-to-appeal petition filed by Zia challenging the High Court judgement that allowed a lower court to continue the trial in the graft case in her absence.

"The Appellate Division (of the Supreme Court) with Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain cleared the way for the court concerned to go on with the trial proceedings," a spokesman for Attorney General's office said.

The trial court had on September 20 decided to continue the trial inside the old Dhaka central jail in Zia's absence.

The 73-year-old former premier on September 27 filed a revision petition with the High Court (HC) challenging the court's September 20 order.

On October 14, the HC rejected the revision petition of Zia and cleared the way for the trial court to continue with its proceedings.

Zia, who is serving a jail term after being convicted in another case related embezzlement of funds of an orphanage named after her husband president Ziaur Rahman in February, has recently filed the leave-to-appeal petition with the SC challenging the HC order. 

Zia had skipped appearances in the case citing illness.  

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lodged the Zia Charitable Trust graft case against Zia and three others with Tejgaon Police Station in August 2011. 

According to the case, the former prime minister and three others abused their power and raised funds for the trust from unknown sources.