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Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a High Court’s decision to grant bail to opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who was jailed for five years on a corruption conviction.

Lawyers from both sides said the ruling does not necessarily mean Zia will be released from jail because she’s been arrested in connection with three other cases.

The government had appealed a March verdict by the High Court granting her bail for four months.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court also ordered authorities to make a final decision by July 31 involving a separate appeal by Zia seeking her release from jail.

Zia has been in jail for more than three months in the graft case for misusing power and embezzling about $250,000 involving a trust fund named after her late husband, former President Ziaur Rahman. The conviction means that Zia, the archrival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, can be barred from running in December elections.

Zia’s party says the February verdict was politically motivated, a charge the government has denied. Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party has threatened to boycott the next elections, saying they will not join the polls without Zia.

In February, a trial court convicted Zia and also sentenced her son, Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years in prison for involvement in the case. Rahman lives in London and was tried in absentia.

Bangladesh law says anyone imprisoned for more than two years cannot run for office for the next five years, but Law Minister Anisul Huq had said the final decision rests with the higher courts.

Bangladesh politics are deeply fractious, with rivals Hasina and Zia ruling the country alternately since 1991, when democracy was restored.

Both women came from political dynasties. Zia is the widow of Ziaur Rahman, a general-turned-president who was assassinated in 1981. Hasina is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s independence leader and first president, who was assassinated in 1975 along with most of his family members.



A court in Italy has ruled that former three-time Premier Silvio Berlusconi is eligible to run for office again, nearly five years after a tax fraud conviction forced him to surrender his Senate seat and prevented him from being a candidate in national elections.

Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Saturday that Milan's Surveillance Tribunal made the decision after reviewing a request from lawyers for the 81-year-old Berlusconi, a media mogul who founded a center-right political party a quarter-century ago.

The ban on his seeking or holding public office was due to expire in 2019. But Corriere della Sera said the tribunal ruled Friday that Berlusconi already had been "rehabilitated."

"Silvio Berlusconi can finally return to the playing field," Mara Carfagna, a leader of the ex-premier's Forza Italia party. "The 'rehabilitation' by the Milan Surveillance Court puts an end to a judicial persecution and a cavalry that didn't chip away at the strength of great leadership, that, in a profoundly changed political scenario, is today still fundamental and central."

Milan Prosecutor General Roberto Alfonso said prosecutors have 15 days to decide if they will appeal the tribunal's decision.


A Paraguayan court on Tuesday confirmed the extradition of Nicolas Leoz, the former president of South America's soccer confederation.

However, his defense attorney said they would appeal the decision at the country's Supreme Court.

The 89-year-old Leoz was charged in a corruption scandal being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department, and has been held under house arrest in Asuncion fighting the extradition order.

A court in November approved his extradition to the United States, where he has been wanted since 2015 on charges of receiving millions of dollars in bribes from marketing companies in exchange for TV and marketing rights to soccer tournaments. Leoz denies any wrongdoing.

An appeals court on Tuesday confirmed the decision by denying an appeal. "Two of the three members of the appeals court voted for his extradition, while one of them voted in favor of our position to deny the extradition because Paraguay doesn't have similar legislation to the U.S., where bribery in the private sector is considered a crime," Leoz's attorney, Nicolas Preda, told The Associated Press.

Preda said his legal team would soon appeal to the Supreme Court, which he said doesn't have a deadline to rule.


The International Olympic Committee will appeal to Switzerland's supreme court against rulings which cleared some Russian athletes of doping at the Sochi Games.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams says it is "unsatisfied both by the decision and the motivation" of verdicts by Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal can overturn CAS verdicts if legal process was abused, though appeals rarely succeed.

Days before the Pyeongchang Olympics opened in February, two CAS judging panels upheld appeals of 28 Russian athletes against IOC sanctions. CAS said while the evidence did not prove doping offences, it did not mean the 28 were declared innocent of taking part in orchestrated cheating.

A further 11 Russians lost their appeals at CAS, which confirmed disqualifications from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.



Italy's highest court has rejected a request by a German group to release its migrant rescue boat seized eight months ago by prosecutors investigating allegations that non-governmental organizations colluded with migrant smugglers.

The German group, Jugend Rettet, said Tuesday that it was devastated by the Cassation Court's ruling and that "we will fight for the right to rescue people in danger at sea."

Doctors Without Borders said the ruling "sends a working signal (that) Europe will continue to criminalize humanitarian organizations conducting search-and-rescue operations ... rather than strengthening capacities to save lives at sea."

Prosecutors told the court that the Iuventa was seized based on three episodes in which crew members had contact with migrant smugglers. The group's spokesman, Philipp Kulker, said in Berlin that the evidence had been fabricated.



Britain’s Supreme Court declined Friday to hear an appeal from a mother and father who want to take their terminally ill toddler to Italy for treatment instead of allowing a hospital to remove him from life support.

The decision is another setback for the parents of 23-month-old Alfie Evans, who have been engaged in a protracted legal fight with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital over their son’s care.

The Supreme Court decision means an earlier Court of Appeal ruling will stand. Justices in that court upheld a lower court’s conclusion that it would be pointless to fly the boy to Rome for treatment.

Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” as the result of a degenerative neurological condition that doctors have been unable to definitively identify. Earlier court rulings blocked further medical treatment and ordered the boy’s life support to be withdrawn.

In appealing the rulings, Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, argued their son had shown improvement in recent weeks. But doctors said his condition was irreversible.

Pope Francis prayed Sunday for Alfie and others who are suffering from serious infirmities.

It was the second time the pope offered his views about a case involving a terminally ill British child. In July, Francis spoke out on behalf of Charlie Gard, who died a week before his first birthday from a rare genetic disease after his parents fought in court to obtain treatment for him outside of Britain.


Longtime British rock icon Cliff Richard's case against the BBC's coverage of a police raid at his home has begun in a London court.

Richard is suing the broadcaster for its coverage of the 2014 raid, when police were investigating an alleged sex assault.

The 77-year-old singer was never charged with any crime. His lawsuit claims he suffered "profound" damage to his reputation as a result of the BBC's coverage of the police activity at his home.

BBC says it will "vigorously" rebut Richard's case. Richard's lawyer Justin Rushbrooke told the court BBC used its cameras to "spy" into Richard's home.

He said it was hard to describe "the sense of panic and powerlessness" Richard experienced when he realized the BBC was broadcasting images of the raid based on allegations he knew were false.

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