Dhaka, Bangladesh
Fresh move on Khaleda release

Fresh move on Khaleda release

Family may submit spl petition, CrPC provision shown before

News Report: As a last resort to free jailed former prime minister Khaleda Zia, her family members are now thinking about making a special appeal probably the way recently revealed. Now that all avenues are tried by her party for release of the BNP chairperson on bail got exhausted, after apex-court rejection, a legal byway opened. Remission or suspension of a convicted person on plausible reasons is provided for in section 401(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code or CrPC. Senior lawyers from both sides and the law minister were in agreement on this legal provision. While the opposition counsel said the government could do it in the case of the BNP chief on its own accord, the government side held the view that the convict has to apply for availing this scope. Pointing at the code of criminal procedure section 401(1), senior Supreme Court lawyer and Khaleda counsel Khandaker Mahbub Hossain had recently demanded suspension of her sentence to allow her to take treatment abroad as per her will. The section says: "When any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence, the government may at any time, without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced." This point and the demand were pointed out to the chief law officer. In response, Attorney-General Mahbubey Alam said the government may look into the suspension of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's sentence upon an appeal in this regard. "Usually, any sentence is suspended if a convict serves jail term for a long time. The government can suspend jail term of such convicts under special considerations. If they (BNP) can make out such a case, then the government will look into it," he said while talking to reporters at his office at the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul Haque also said this section of the criminal law is applicable to prisoner release. "But they have to apply, and it's the president's prerogative, not government's jurisdiction," he told the media the same day. There had apparently been thinking on both sides on this score, and on whether Khaleda could agree to such option. BNP leaders have said all along that they would try two ways for setting her free: on bail through legal battle and through movement. However, her near and dear ones appear anxious about health of the septuagenarian who has been behind bars for over two years now with old-age complications. As such, they might have discussed this matter with her during Friday interview at the hospital where she has been under treatment. Her sister Selima Islam, after the Friday interview with her at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said they are planning to make a special appeal for her release from jail as they are worried about her life. Selima, however, did not make it clear whether they will make the appeal to the government or the apex court. "We're thinking of making a special appeal, but we still didn't take the final decision," she told reporters. She further said, "The way her (Khaleda's) physical condition has deteriorated, we fear we wouldn't be able to take her home alive if her stay here prolongs. Any accident can take place anytime." Selima said her sister immediately needs advanced treatment as her condition has deteriorated further. "Steps must be taken for her advanced treatment as her condition is very serious. Her sugar level was 15 during fasting today (Friday). How long she'll remain in such a condition?" She said though the BNP chief has been receiving treatment at the BSMMU for nearly a year, her condition is not improving and that is why they want her to be freed for her advanced treatment at any other sophisticated hospital. About Khaleda's present health conditions, Selima said she is vomiting and suffering from fever and serious pains. "Her left hand have got bent and she is suffering from acute pains. "Her proper treatment is not possible at this hospital (BSMMU)." Khaleda's sister said the treatment given by the BSMMU doctors is not helping improve her condition. "Rather, her condition is deteriorating gradually. Even, she can't speak properly." Khaleda urged people to pray for her early recovery. Five of her family members, including Selima, met her. The others are her younger brother Shamim Eskandar, his wife Kaniz Fatema and son Ovik Eskandar and her late brother Sayeed Eskandar's wife Nasrin Eskandar. They had stayed there and talked to Khaleda Zia for over an hour, said BNP chairperson's media wing member Shamsuddin Didar. Khaleda has been in jail since she was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8, 2018. She was convicted in another corruption case, involving Zia Charitable Trust, later the same year, though her party claims both cases are 'politically motivated'. The BNP chief has been under treatment at the BSMMU since April 1 last year. (Inputs taken from live media account, UNB report)

Share |