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Khaleda Zia granted bail in corruption cases

Khaleda Zia granted bail in corruption cases

Dhaka: A court here on Sunday granted bail to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia in two cases of corruption, according to media reports.

On February 25, a court in Dhaka had issued an arrest warrant against Zia after she skipped several hearings in the "Zia Charitable Trust" and "Zia Orphanage Trust" graft cases, reported.

On March 4, the court rejected her plea for withdrawal of the arrest warrant in the cases involving the embezzlement of over Bangladeshi Taka 50 million (nearly $646,000).

Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar defended his decision: "I would not have issued arrest warrant, but I was forced to."

Two other accused in the cases were also granted bail. The cases would next be heard on May 5.

Defence lawyers had told the court that the BNP chief's absence was "unintentional".

Her absence was mainly owing to security reasons and her son Arafat Rahman Koko's death, her lawyer Mahbubuddin Khokon said.

Security was tightened around the court during the hearing.

Zia's 20-party opposition alliance, which boycotted the general election last year, has enforced a non-stop nationwide blockade since January 5 demanding fresh parliamentary elections under a non-party caretaker government.

More than 100 people have been killed so far in the ensuing political violence. Zia has lived at her Gulshan office in Dhaka since January 3 when police stopped her from leaving the office.

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