"The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court rejected her leave to appeal petitions...now there is no legal barrier in trying her on corruption charges," Deputy Attorney General Ekramul Haque Tutul told reporters.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice M Muzammel Hossain delivered the order upholding a previous identical decision by the High Court, saying she must face trial in the lower court on the graft charges over the orphanage, which was named after her slain husband ex-president Ziaur Rahman.

Tutul said the court also resumed hearing another appeal filed by Zia against a High Court ruling that validated her indictment by the lower court in a separate corruption case involving Zia Charitable Trust, a philanthropic organisation.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which brought the charges against the 69-year-old two-time premier, however, said both the charities existed only in papers.

The ACC in 2009 filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against her on charge of embezzling a huge amount of money by forming a "fake" trust and filed the other case in 2011 on charge of abusing power during setting up the trust.

Her elder son and BNP's senior vice president Tarique Rahman and seven others were also accused in the two cases.

Zia and three of her aides are accused of syphoning off about USD 400,000 from the Zia Charitable Trust.

She is also accused of leading a group of five people, including her eldest son, in embezzling USD 277,000 which were meant to go to an orphanage set up in memory of her husband, a military ruler turned politician who was assassinated in 1981.

Lawyers said Zia and other accused could be jailed for life if found guilty.

The ex-premier, whose party boycotted the 2014 general elections, termed the charges "politically motivated" and alleged those were aimed at destroying the BNP.

Zia has vowed to topple the government of her arch-rival Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League through protests.

With pending appeals before the apex court, she went on trial in the two cases two months ago after the High Court rejected her pleas seeking suspension of the cases.

Zia was indicted on March 19 by a Dhaka court on the two graft charges, dating back to her tenure from 2001 to 2006.

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