Former Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia may be released next week

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Dhaka, Sept 5 : The former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who is languishing in a prison for over a year on graft charges, may be freed on bail by next week, claimed her lawyers.

A day after Zia's elder son Tarique Rahman, who was being tried in a number of corruption charges was released, the Prothom Alo newspaper quoted one of Zia's counsels as saying, "We expect her to be released as she now needs bail from courts in only two cases."

However, a senior government leader said that she would have to go through legal procedures for her release.

The lawyer's comment came as Commerce Adviser of the interim cabinet Hossain Zillur Rahman said yesterday that the government was advancing the political process without hampering the legal procedure for the release of Zia, the chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Earlier, in June this year Zia's archrival Sheikh Hasina of Awami League was released on an executive order for treatment abroad. At that time the government had said that a process was underway to free the BNP chief in an identical manner.

After the January 11, 2007 proclamation of emergency in Bangladesh, both Zia and Hasina have been charged under a number of corruption cases as part of a massive anti-graft campaign launched by the interim government soon after its istallation with military support.

ANI

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