Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia on Tuesday appealed against the February 8 verdict that jailed her for five years and fined Tk 2.10 crore in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim posted for February 22 the hearing in the appeal, in which the jailed former prime minister also sought bail and stay of the conviction, sentence and fine until disposal of the appeal.
The 1,222-page petition contains 54-page appeal and the rest 1168 pages contain the certified copy of the original verdict, pronounced by Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-5 judge Akhteruzzaman.
The appeal mentioned 44 reasons for acquitting Khaleda of the charge by setting aside the special judge’s verdict.
It said that the verdict should be rejected as the court ‘fraudulently and deliberately misquoted the appellant saying that “Accused Begum Khaleda Zia confessed that she had abused power while she was giving her statement to the court under section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to defend herself.’”
The appeal said that Khaleda in her said statement asked the trial court whether indiscriminate killing of people, including students and teachers, for protesting injustice were misuse of power or she had abused power.
Khaleda’s lawyers said that the trial court provided them with the certified copy 11 days after its pronouncement to delay the filing of the appeal.
The appeal was filed Tuesday afternoon following a series of meetings of senior pro-BNP lawyers who defended Khaleda in the trial.
Soon after the filing of the appeal, Supreme Court Bar Association president Zainul Abedin, also a pro-BNP lawyer, with senior lawyers rushed to the bench seeking the appeal be enlisted for hearing on Thursday.
Attorney general Mahbubey Alam requested the bench to hear the matter on Sunday saying that he needed preparation.
Justice M Enayetur Rahim rejected the attorney general’s plea saying that the bench was used to hear cases relating to the Anti-Corruption Commission every Wednesday and Thursday.
He asked Zainul to provide by Tuesday the lawyers for the government and the commission with copies of the appeal as well as the bail petition, if any she filed.
Lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan appeared for the commission.
Khaleda’s lawyers Moudud Ahmed, Abdul Razzaque Khan, Jamiruddin Sircar, Khandker Mahbub Hossain, AJ Mohammad Ali, Zainul Abedin, Mahbub Uddin Khokon, Sanaullah Mia, Aminul Islam and Kayser Kamal, among others, were present.
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