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Arrest warrant against Zia upheld

Arrest warrant against Zia upheld
“Rejected,” Third Metropolitan Special Court judge Abu Ahmed Jomadar pronounced as Zia’s lawyers in her absence submitted a plea seeking withdrawal of arrest warrant issued against her last week in the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases after her repeated failure to appear in the court.

The judge said the February 25 order on the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief’s arrest will remain effective.

The judge termed the 69-year-old former premier a “fugitive” because of her repeated non-appearance in the court and added that according to the law none could file a petition “on behalf of any fugitive accused”. The court fixed April 5 for the next hearing.

The court’s decision came as tension brewed in the capital after suspected opposition activists exploded two homemade bombs at the makeshift court premises at downtown Bakshibazar area despite huge security vigil in the area.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief is accused of embezzling nearly USD 650,000 in the two corruption cases during her last term as prime minister from 2001 to 2006 and could be jailed for life if proved guilty.

Zia’s counsel had yesterday demanded “enough security and assurance for her safe return to her Gulshan political office” as preconditions for her court appearance.

“We respect the law. She (Zia) is willing to go to court if she has to...but she will go to court if she is given adequate security and an assurance that she will be allowed to return to her office,” Zia’s chief counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain had told newsmen last night.

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