Bangladesh former PM Khaleda wins bail in two graft cases

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Dhaka, Sep 9 (UNI) Bangladesh's former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was today granted bail by the High Court in two graft cases, clearing legal impediments to her release.

Khaleda and her two sons were arrested last year by the military-backed caretaker government in corruption charges as scores of high profile politicians including another ex-Prime Minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina were put behind the bars for the corruption charges.

Khaleda's lawyer said the High Court's bails in GATCO and Niko graft cases cleared the way for her release. Earlier, her two sons--Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman-- were released on health grounds.

Tarique, a political heir, may go to London soon for treatment of his damaged spinal cord. His younger brother Arafat has been undergoing treatment at a Bangkok Hospital.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda, who ruled the country for two terms since 1991 as Prime Minister, was arrested on September 3, 2007 in connection with GATCO graft case.

She was also made an accused in favouring Canadain company Niko to get contract in exploring a gas field in Bangladesh.

BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain welcomed the High Court's verdict and said this would help his party to sit for political dialogue with the caretaker government and participation in general election slated for December this year.

Earlier, the BNP leadership had stated that they would not join dialogue or the elections keeping Khaleda in jail. Khaleda's prime rival Sheikh Hasina, who ruled the country for five years since 1996 was paroled in June this year for her treatment. She is now in USA for treatment.

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