Bangladesh's former premier Khaleda Zia’s sentence stayed for another 6 months

Bangladesh's government has stayed the sentence of former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in two graft cases for another six months following an appeal by her family members, allowing her to stay out of jail for that duration, a senior minister said on Sunday.

The 76-year-old chief of main Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who is serving a 17-year jail term on charges of embezzling foreign donations, was temporarily released from prison in March 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of Zia's prison sentence has been extended by six months twice before. It was last extended in March, 2021 and the extension expired on September 15.

"Khaleda Zia’s family, specifically her younger brother made a petition to extend the time, subject to conditions," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was quoted as saying by the on Sunday. "We scrutinised his application and then approved it."

However, Zia will not be able to leave the country during the extension period.

"She can receive her treatment at home in whatever way she wants. But she cannot leave the country. The conditions that were previously set for her release will be maintained," Khan said.

Zia contracted the COVID-19 virus in early April. As per the doctors, she has been facing post-Covid complications.