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Ex-PM Khaleda Zia seeks stay against prison sentence in graft case verdict

Ex-PM Khaleda Zia seeks stay against prison sentence in graft case verdict

Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has sought a stay on the 10-year prison sentence awarded to her in orphanage graft case, her lawyer said on Monday.

The petition to stay the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case was filed a day after Khaleda, also the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson, challenged the trial court's verdict in the case.

Her lawyer Kaysar Kamal filed a petition with the Appellate Division chamber judge earlier in the day, reports bdnews24.

A bail petition has also been submitted alongside it, he said.

"Khaleda had been sentenced to five years in prison in a false, fabricated and fake case," Kamal told the media.

"The BNP chairperson then challenged the trial court's verdict at the High Court. We believed the situation would be redressed.

"But, astonishingly, the date of the verdict was announced before the hearings came to an end. We could not even complete the hearings of the ACC (Anti-Corruption Commission) petition to extend her sentence."

The lawyer also claimed that the doubling of Khaleda's sentence was unprecedented.

"Usually a sentence is reduced on appeal. But in Khaleda's case it was increased. This is completely motivated by politics."

BNP leaders hope that by staying the sentences of these two cases, the former leader will be able to participate in the upcoming general election.

The BNP leadership has bought nomination papers for three constituencies on her behalf.

On February 8, the trial court had convicted her of embezzling 21 million Bangladeshi Taka in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

The sentence was increased to 10 years by the High Court on October 30.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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