Bangladesh court grants bail to ex-PM Zia in sedition case

Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia, center, is mobbed by journalists and supporters as she arrives for a court hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)
Bangladesh's former prime minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, Khaleda Zia, center, leaves a court after a hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)
Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia, center, arrives for a court hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)
Policemen form a security cordon before former Bangladeshi Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia arrives for a court hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)
Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia, center, arrives for a court hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)
Bangladesh's former prime minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, Khaleda Zia, center, waves at her supporters as she leaves a court after a hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)
Bangladesh's former prime minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, Khaleda Zia, center, leaves a court after a hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)
Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia, center, arrives for a court hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Zia is being tried for several alleged cases of corruption. (AP Photo)

NEW DELHI — Bangladesh's former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was granted bail Wednesday in 10 cases involving charges of arson and sedition.

Judge Kamrul Hossain Mollah announced the decision after Zia appeared in the court in metropolitan Dhaka. She'll be free until trial under the bail conditions, a bond of $128 for each case with two guarantors.

Zia, the head of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, is the archrival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Zia has faced several political challenges in her attempts to build an anti-government movement.

The sedition charge is related to Zia's questioning of the number of people killed during the country's 1971 independence war against Pakistan. Bangladesh says about 3 million people died during the nine-month war.

Zia has recently doubted that figure even though the same estimate was used officially during her premierships in 1991-1996 and 2001-2006.

The defense argued that the charges against Zia were politically motivated to damage her image and block her from contesting polls that are expected to be held in 2019, defense lawyer Sanaullah Mia said.

He said Zia's name was not in the initial complaint for the arson cases but she was added later to undermine her political stature.

The prosecution argued that the arson attacks were instigated directly from Zia, who wants to oust Hasina's government and seeks early elections.

The court scheduled the next hearing for Oct. 10.

Zia faces other corruption charges separately.

Must Read

'American Crime Story' writers focusing on Hurricane Katrina

Aug 10, 2016

An executive producer behind 'American Crime Story,' the anthology series for FX, says they're taking 'great care' with casting of the season which will focus on Hurricane Katrina

Zambia voting for president amid unprecedented violence

Aug 10, 2016

Zambia, former 'model for Africa,' votes for president amid striking political violence

Police: Woman killed by Florida officer in academy exercise

Aug 10, 2016

A police "shoot/ don't shoot" demonstration went shockingly awry when an officer shot and killed a 73-year-old former librarian with what police said was real ammunition used by mistake at an event designed to bring police and the public together

People also read these

A look at China's foreign policy challenges

Aug 10, 2016

China's simmering feud with South Korea over deployment of an American missile defense system is the latest in a string of foreign policy challenges piling up on President Xi Jinping's desk as he prepares to host next month's annual summit of G20 nations

Rio authorities step up security after bus windows shattered

Aug 10, 2016

Military police in Rio de Janeiro are stepping up security at the Olympics after a bus carrying journalists had two of its windows shattered by a projectile and a bullet flew into the stables of the equestrian venue

Zambia voting for president amid unprecedented violence

Aug 10, 2016

Zambia, former 'model for Africa,' votes for president amid striking political violence

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH