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Khaleda Zia seeks withdrawal of arrest warrant against her

Khaleda Zia seeks withdrawal of arrest warrant against her
Bangladesh opposition party chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia on Tuesday appealed for withdrawal of an arrest warrant against her in connection with two graft cases involving over $650,000 which could see her jailed for life.

Zia’s lawyer submitted two separate petitions in a special anti-corruption court seeking withdrawal of arrest warrant issued against her in the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases.

Abu Ahmed Jamadar of Special Judge Court-3 - which is hearing the corruption cases against the 69-year-old former premier and eight others, including her ‘fugitive’ elder son Tarique Rahman - scheduled the hearing of her plea for Wednesday.

The court ordered Zia’s arrest on February 25 after she repeatedly failed to appear for the hearings, a development which could escalate the ongoing political turmoil in the country that has claimed at least 110 lives.

Lawyers of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader sought to defer the scheduled hearing, saying their client could not appear due to “security reasons” following which the court issued the warrant.

She is accused of embezzling nearly $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 will not attend the hearing for the same reason, according to her lawyer Sanaullah Mian, bdnews24.com reported.

“BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will not be going to court tomorrow because there is no security.
“We have pleaded against the arrest warrant. We are also waiting for the pleas we filed against these cases at the High Court,” he told bdnews24.com.

However, a separate report in The Daily Star cited defence lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain as saying that Zia will surrender tomorrow if the government ensures her security to and from the trial court.

She must get adequate security on the way back to her Gulshan office after getting bail, Mahbub told the newspaper.

He said that he had discussed the issue with the former prime minister, the report said.

On March 1, a Bangladeshi court also issued a warrant to carry out search at Zia’s office in the upmarket Gulshan area here - from where she has not come out in nearly two months - to look for wanted fugitives and explosives in connection with the attack on the rally of a senior ruling party leader.
Agencies

Agencies

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