Law amendment to bail detained Bangladeshi politicians

July 6th, 2008 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 6 (IANS) Bangladesh’s military-backed government is set to amend its law to facilitate bail for several high profile politicians and officials for the parliamentary elections promised for December. However, the principal accused in each of the several graft cases will not benefit from the changes — indicating that the two former prime ministers, Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, leading the two parties the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Awami League (AL) may be kept out.

The Daily Star newspaper Sunday said the probable change in the rules might facilitate bail to politicians like Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, M.K. Anwar, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, M. Shamsul Islam — all leaders of Zia’s BNP — and Motiur Rahman Nizami, Amir (chief) of Jamaat-e-islami, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party.

All of them are co-accused in various graft cases in different stages of trial.

None from Hasina’s AL figures in the newspaper’s list of probables.

The government formed a 10-member experts committee last month to review the Emergency Power Rules (EPR) provisions, especially those related to bail.

The process to amend the EPR has begun even as the Election Commission readies to conduct civic elections Aug 4 partially lifting curbs on political activities.

An amendment would activate a Truth Commission that would start functioning later this month, to facilitate confessions of graft with the hope of relief from punishment.

The bail relief will be given to a convict facing a maximum of three years’ imprisonment if their appeal against the verdict cannot be disposed of within the stipulated 90 working days which is no fault of the appellant.

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