The former Prime Minister of Bangladesh and opposition leader who was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing from an orphanage trust was granted on Monday a four months bail, according to her lawyer.
Khaleda Zia, 72, her son Tarique Rahman and four of their aides were convicted last month of stealing 21 million taka (US$253,000) in foreign donations received by an orphanage trust set up during her 2001 to 2006 term as prime minister. Since the Dhaka court issued its verdict on February 8, Zia remained detained in a isolated cell since her appeal was pending.
Two judges of the High Court granted her bail because of her age and physical condition. Zia joined politics in the mid-1980s after the 1981 assassination of her husband, President Ziaur Rahman. She was an ally of Bangladesh’s current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina but then turned against her, blaming her for launching cases against her to exclude her from politics.