The Appellate Division on Sunday upheld the High Court division order that stayed trial proceedings in four cases filed against Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia, reports news agency UNB.
A three-member bench led by justice Muhammad Imman Ali passed the order after rejecting a petition filed by the state.
Deputy attorney general Bishwajit Debnath represented the state while barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon stood for Khaleda in the court.
The three arson cases were filed with Darus Salam police station in the capital in 2015 while a sedition case was filed with the metropolitan magistrate court in 2016 on allegation of her derogatory remarks about freedom fighters.
The court also issued four rules asking the government to explain why the court proceedings of the cases would not be declared ‘scrapped’
On 21 December 2015, Khaleda Zia at a discussion at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh questioned the actual number of martyrs. “There’re controversies over how many were martyred in the Liberation War. There’re many books and documents on the controversies.”
The High Court later stayed the trial proceedings of the four cases. It also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the cases should not be scrapped.
This prompted the state counsel to move the Appellate Division.
Earlier, the court put stay orders on eight more cases filed against Khaleda Zia.
On 23 August this year, the Appellate Division upheld the High Court division’s order that had stayed the trial proceedings in four other arson and vandalism cases against the former prime minister filed with Darus Salam and Jatrabari police stations in 2015.
Earlier, on 17 August, the apex court upheld the High Court order halting trial proceedings in another four sabotage cases against the BNP chairperson.
The cases were filed in January and March 2015 during a shutdown enforced by the BNP-led 20-party alliance. The High Court stayed the trial proceedings of the four cases in May 2017.
The court also issued four rules asking the government to explain why the court proceedings of the cases would not be declared ‘scrapped’.
Former prime minister Khaleda Zia was sent to Old Dhaka Central Jail after her conviction in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on 8 February 2018.
In March this year, the BNP chief was released from jail for six months upon an executive order considering her age and on humanitarian ground following an application by her family.
On 15 September, the government extended her conditional release by another six months.