Bangladesh Court Grants Ex-Premier Zia Bail Ms. Zia left her office for the first time since January with court visit

Khaleda Zia

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

DHAKA, Bangladesh—Bangladesh’s former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia avoided arrest on corruption charges Sunday after the court granted her bail.

Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadder approved Ms. Zia’s request for bail when she surrendered to court in the capital, Dhaka.

Ms. Zia left her office for the first time since Jan. 5, when authorities had initially barred her from leaving to attend an anti-government rally calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Authorities later said she was free to move to her nearby residence but Ms. Zia refused, vowing to continue with anti-government protests that have turned violent, leaving nearly 115 people dead since the beginning of the year.

Ms. Zia’s lawyers have rejected allegations that she illegally collected more than $1 million in donations for the charity during her last premiership in 2001-2006, and say the charges are politically motivated, which authorities deny.

The trial began early last year.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Ms. Zia in February after she failed to appear to answer the charges against her. Prosecutors on Sunday did not oppose Ms. Zia’s bail request.

Ms. Zia currently leads a 20-party opposition alliance that has been enforcing a nonstop transportation blockade across the South Asian country since early January to demand that Ms. Hasina resign and a new election be called.

Source: WSJ