Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

BNP silent as 6 years of Khaleda Zia’s jail term completes

  • Released due to Covid outbreak in 2020
  • Family believes her health may improve abroad
Update : 10 Feb 2024, 11:00 AM

The High Court had sentenced BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to 10 years in the Zia Orphanage Trust case, and on February 8, 2018, she began her prison term.

As the six-year mark of her imprisonment passed on Thursday, BNP remained notably silent on the matter.

Despite press conferences and discussions held by party leaders, there was no mention of Khaleda Zia's situation.

After nearly two years in prison, the global spread of the coronavirus, beginning on March 25, 2020, prompted her release under certain conditions.

Following family requests, the government extended her release every six months.

In September 2023, the government issued a renewal notification, with the term set to expire next March.

The family plans to apply for an extension before that date.

On Thursday afternoon, Khaleda Zia went to Evercare Hospital in the capital for a physical examination, returning home later in the day.

Dr AZM Zahid Hossain, a member of her medical team, said: "Her health is sometimes okay. The former prime minister's family also feels that if she is given the opportunity to seek treatment abroad, she will recover better."

Responding to the potential application for an extension, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said on Friday: "Let the family apply. A decision may be reached following the Ministry of Home Affairs and legal recommendations."

Sources of BNP said that party leaders have always given speeches on February 8, remembering the day. It didn't happen this time.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir used to talk about the issue often. He spoke to journalists about Khaleda Zia on February 8 last year as well. However, now he is in prison.

Shayrul Kabir Khan, a member of BNP's media cell, commented: "The day is a bloodbath for the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party; none of us can accept it easily."

Regarding BNP's silence on the day, Selima Rahman, a member of the party's standing committee, said: "We were busy taking Khaleda to the hospital yesterday (Thursday). In fact, we are not silent.”

It is to be noted that BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was initially sentenced to five years in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. Later, the court imposed 10 years imprisonment when the ACC applied for an increase in the sentence period.

On the other hand, the court sentenced her to seven years in prison and fined Tk10 lakh in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. The court ordered a total of 17 years imprisonment against Khaleda Zia in these two cases.

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