BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has challenged the trial court’s decision sentencing her to seven years in prison over the Zia Charitable Trust graft case four days after receiving the full text of the verdict. The 638-page decision and the 700-page appeal petition also include a petition for bail, said her lawyer barrister Kayser Kamal after submitting the petition to the High Court on Sunday.
The BNP chairperson has been convicted illegally and unjustly,” he said. “We have appealed for her sentence to be dismissed and for her release. A High Court bench will be formed to decide on the appeal.”
ZIA CHARITABLE TRUST CASE
The trial court announced the verdict in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case on Oct 29.
The court found the former prime minister guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 and sentenced her to seven years in prison and fined her Tk 1 million.
A failure to pay the fine would add six more months to her jail sentence.
The judge granted the three other suspects in the case the same sentence for abetting corrupt activity under the Penal Code.
The court order also allowed the government to seize the 70 decimals of land bought in the name of the Zia Charitable Trust.
“The suspect Begum Khaleda Zia abused her power as the head of state to raise illegal funds for her personal trust and then spent it. This is unacceptable,” the judge wrote.
“The court believes she should face strict punishment as an example in order to prevent others from doing such things in the future. The court also believes the other suspects should face strict punishment because they abetted this crime.”
The Zia Charitable Trust graft case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2011.
Khaledas former political affairs secretary Harris Chowdhury, his former aide and former BIWTA acting director Ziaul Islam Munna, and former Dhaka mayor Sadeque Hossain Khokas personal secretary Monirul Islam Khan are the three others convicted in the case.
Harris Chowdhury has been at large since the start of the case.
Ziaul Islam Munna and Sadeque Hossain Khoka were in court to hear Mondays verdict.
Khaleda has been in custody since Feb 8, when she was sentenced to five years in prison over the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.