Bangladesh court orders release of opposition leader Zia

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to grant opposition leader Khaleda Zia bail while she appeals against a five-year jail term imposed in February for corruption. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Bangladesh court orders release of opposition leader Zia

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release from detention of 72-year-old opposition leader Khaleda Zia after her lawyers argued she was unwell.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to grant Zia bail while she appeals against a five-year jail term imposed in February for corruption, her lawyer Joynal Abedin said.
Zia’s lawyers said they told the court that the three-time former prime minister, the arch-rival of current leader Sheikh Hasina, faced serious health risks if kept in prison.
Zia underwent a hospital check-up last month.
The Supreme Court had earlier suspended the lower court’s decision to grant Zia bail, prompting her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to condemn the move as part of a campaign by Hasina to silence the opposition ahead of a looming national election.
It was not immediately clear, however, when Zia would be released from the special prison in Dhaka where she is the only inmate.
Abedin said Zia was officially considered under arrest in five other cases and she needs to get bail for each one, which may take days or weeks.
“We hope she will be released shortly,” Abedin said.
Zia also faces dozens of separate charges related to violence and corruption.
The BNP leader was jailed for five years in February on charges of embezzling money intended for an orphanage.
Zia, who entered politics in the 1980s after her military dictator husband was assassinated in a failed coup, has consistently dismissed the charges as politically motivated.
Her party boycotted a 2014 national election in which Hasina was re-elected but is expected to contest the new polls due in December.


Pakistan to host SCO meeting for first time

Updated 20 min 25 sec ago
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Pakistan to host SCO meeting for first time

  • Legal experts will discuss regional terror threats, enhancing counter-terror cooperation
  • “We are ready to share our experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS,” the Foreign Ministry says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) meeting from May 23-25 in Islamabad, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
This is the first ever SCO meeting to be held in Pakistan, which became a member in June 2017.
Pakistan’s government “is pleased to welcome delegations from SCO member states to Islamabad,” said the ministry.
Legal experts from member states China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, as well as representatives of the RATS executive committee, will participate in the meeting.
They will discuss terrorist threats confronting the region, and ways to enhance counterterrorism cooperation between SCO member states.
“We are ready to share our experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS,” the ministry said.