The High Court on Thursday granted permanent bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in two cases filed on charges of hurting the religious sentiment of Muslims and making derogatory comments on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The court passed the order as Khaleda did not misuse the ad-interim bail granted by it earlier in the cases.
The HC bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Shahed Nuruddin delivered the verdicts after hearing two separate rules in connection with the cases.
So far the BNP chief has secured permanent bail in four out of 37 cases, said her lawyer Kayser Kamal.
AB Siddique, President of Bangladesh Jananetri Parishad, a pro-Awami League (AL) organization, filed one case with a Dhaka court on October 21, 2014, claiming that on October 14 of the same year, Khaleda at a program at the Engineers Institution in Dhaka said: "the ruling party's (AL) professed secularism was nothing but a sham".
The plaintiff said her remarks hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.
In another defamation case filed with a Dhaka court on January 25, 2017, AB Siddique claimed that Khaleda Zia at a program in Engineers Institution said Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had not wanted the independence of Bangladesh, rather he (Sheikh Mujib) had wanted to be Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Following two separate bail petitions filed by Khaleda Zia, the HC on June 18, 2019 granted a six-month bail to her and issued the rules asking the state as to why she should not be granted permanent bail in the cases.
Later on, the HC extended the orders of ad-interim bail at different times. Apart from this, the High Court after hearing the rules granted permanent bail to her in the two cases.
Khaleda Zia landed in jail on February 8 in 2018 after a Dhaka court sentenced her to five years imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case. The HC on October 30 of the same year enhanced the punishment of Khaleda to 10 years imprisonment in the case.
Besides, a Dhaka court on October 29 in 2018 convicted Khaleda and sentenced her to seven years imprisonment in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. He is now serving her sentence in these two cases.