Bangladesh’s embattled former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on Thursday surrendered before a local court that granted her bail in graft and defamation cases. The court had issued an arrest warrant against her last week.
“The bail was granted on conditions that she would inform the court before leaving the country in future,” a court official said. He said Zia, 72, also the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief, had to pay a bond of Taka 1,00,000 ($1211) for obtaining the bail.
Surrounded by her party activists, Zia came to the court in Dhaka and surrendered before the judge, a day after she returned home from London after a three-month visit. After granting the bail, the court held a routine hearing where she gave an hour-long statement claiming her innocence in the graft cases. The judge fixed October 26 as the date for the next hearing.
“She also claimed that cases filed against her are false, motivated and imaginarily made up and aimed at harassing her,” a defence lawyer said. Court officials and lawyers said Dhaka’s Metropolitan Magistrate issued the first warrant as Zia failed to appear in another court over a case accusing her of undermining Bangladesh’s map and national flag.
The former premier is being tried for inducting people who were opposed to the country’s independence in her 2001-2006 Cabinet and committed crimes against humanity by siding with the Pakistani troops. She obtained a bail against the second warrant issued by Dhaka’s Fifth Special Judge’s Court as she evaded appearance in a case involving alleged corruption with funds of an orphanage trust named after her husband and slain president Ziaur Rahman.