Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said the government has kept BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in a special cell in old Dhaka Central Jail on the Nazimuddin road, considering her social status as a former prime minister of the country.
“Khaleda Zia has is a former prime minister and the chief of a big political party. Given her age and social dignity, the government has decided to keep her in a special cell in old Dhaka Central Jail,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Judge Dr Akhtaruzzaman of Dhaka’s Fifth Special Judge Court sentenced the former prime minister to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
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The same court also sentenced five other accused, including Khaleda’s son and BNP’s acting Chairperson Tarique Rahman, to 10 years’ imprisonment each and fined them a total of Tk2.10 crore.
In reply to the reporters’ query, Minister Kamal said BNP chief Khaleda would be provided with all the facilities in prison as enjoyed by a former prime minister as per the country’s jail code.
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“Law and order situations across the country are still quite normal. As of now, I haven’t heard of any protest programs or chaos. And none even tried to resort to violence centring on the verdict.”
He added: “It is quite normal that BNP as a big political party of the country may undertake programs to register their protests against the verdict. But, law enforcers will prevent BNP men with an iron hand if they try to resort to violence over the judgment.”
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The 72-year old former prime minister of Bangladesh, Khaleda claimed that the case filed against her was a “politically motivated” one, and she denied misusing international funds donated to the charitable trust.
Meanwhile, her lawyers have requested for a certified copy of the verdict so they can appeal to the High Court, challenging the lower court’s verdict.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com