The High Court (HC) on Tuesday extended the jail term of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case to ten years from five years. Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the order. The HC also upheld 10-year jail term of two other convicts — Kazi Solimul Haque Kamal and Sarfuddin Ahmed. On Monday, the HC bench fixed today to deliver its verdict on four petitions filed over the lower court’s verdict sentencing BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and two others in the case.
Khaleda’s lawyers had petitioned for her acquittal in an appeal, while the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) called for extending her jail term to life term imprisonment. While talking to reporters, ACC lawyer Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan said, “Now, there’s no chance for the BNP chief to contest the next general election. Earlier on Monday morning, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by the BNP chief seeking time extension for disposal of the appeal petition and another one seeking deposition by more witnesses in the graft case, directing for disposing of the appeal by October 31.
The BNP chief filed a petition challenging the court verdict sentencing her to five years’ imprisonment in the graft case. The ACC filed a revision appeal seeking her sentence to be extended to life imprisonment. On February 8, the Dhaka Special Court-5 convicted the former Prime Minister and BNP chairperson and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the graft case and five other accused in the case, including her son and BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, who were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each.
Khaleda secured four months’ bail from the High Court in the case on March 12. Khaleda filed the petition with the High Court against her sentence on February 19, while two more convicts — Kazi Solimul Haque Kamal and Sarfuddin Ahmed — also appealed against their sentences. The ailing BNP chief is now undergoing medical treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).