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Prison in court: Lawyers of Khaleda call for CJ’s intervention

Published : Sunday, 9 September, 2018 at 5:27 PM Count : 669

Lawyers of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia called for the chief justice to object to the handling of the Zia Welfare Trust graft case against her in a makeshift court on Old Dhaka Central Jail premises and the continuation of the trial ‘despite her illness’.

The senior members of Khaleda's legal team on Sunday met Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and made the urge, reports bdnews24.com.

They also submitted a written petition to CJ Mahmud Hossain calling for an investigation into those who ‘overstep the bounds of the judiciary’ and urging legal action against them.

A petition has also been sent to the High Court calling for it to instruct the BNP chief, who is currently serving a five-year sentence over another graft case, to be transferred to a specialised hospital for her medical care.

The petition was raised before the High Court bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Ahmed Sohel on Saturday, but a hearing was not held.

“We filed a petition seeking a transfer of Khaleda Zia to a specialised hospital for treatment,” said lawyer Mahbub Uddin Khokon. “The petition may come up on tomorrow’s docket.”

Several of the BNP chairperson’s leaders presented the petition to Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain on Sunday and spoke to him for about half an hour.

The petition made three arguments:

# Khaleda Zia is not in good health. She is very ill and has difficulty walking, which the government has acknowledged. But the government has not taken any steps for her medical care.

# Trials cannot be held at a derelict court. Any court proceedings in such conditions cannot be considered legal.

# It is illegal for a court to be set up at the old Dhaka Central Jail without the permission of the Supreme Court as it has not been removed from the list of the country’s prisons.

The petition said: “We request that those who are abusing the powers of the judiciary and exceeding the bounds of the court under Supreme Court of Bangladesh (High Court Division) 1973 Rules be investigated and appropriate action be taken against them.”

Khaleda has been in jail since she was sentenced to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on Feb 8.

In the past seven months, the BNP chief has not been able to come to court once, prompting the government to set up a court for the Zia Welfare Trust graft case inside the prison premises.

The BNP has decried the initiative as a ‘trial in camera’ and a ‘violation of the constitution’. BNP leaders claim that an ‘ill leader is being forcibly brought to court’.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina dismissed the allegations, saying there was nothing unconstitutional about the setup of the court.



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