Eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain on Tuesday said he would provide legal advice to the defence counsel of BNP Chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
“They [BNP leaders] gave me a copy of the judgment [that sentenced Khaleda to five years’ imprisonment in a graft case]. I told them that I will go through it first and then provide the necessary advice,” he said.
Dr Kamal, also president of Gono Forum, added that he needs two or so days to go through the 632-page verdict.
Earlier in the day, a delegation of the party, led by its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, paid a courtesy call on Dr Kamal at the latter’s chamber at Motijheel in Dhaka and sought his legal support in the case.
“We handed over a copy of the judgment to him [Dr Kamal] and sought his valuable legal opinions. He told us that he will provide advice after going through the verdict,” Fakhrul told reporters, after meeting with the noted lawyer.
Also Read - Graft case verdict sends Khaleda Zia to jail for 5 years
Dr Kamal said that generally he does not deal with criminal cases but he would go through the trial court judgment.
It is not necessary that all the lawyers have to come to the fore, he said, adding that he still can back Khaleda's lawyers from the background even if he does not deal with the case directly.
A member of the delegation said the jurist advised them to coordinate their efforts while dealing with the case.
Advocate Aminul Islam, a member of the defence counsel, said: “He [Dr Kamal] wanted to know about the case in detail. After we described everything, he asked ‘how the sentence was handed down. As per the statements and evidence available, she [BNP chief] should not have been convicted in the case’.
“He also expressed regrets and sympathy for our chairperson.”
Barrister AKM Ehsanur Rahman, another member of the defence counsel, said: “BNP Standing Committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, former attorney general AJ Mohammad Ali, Supreme Court Bar Association President Advocate Zainul Abedin and General Secretary Barrister Mahbub uddin Khokon are among the senior lawyers dealing with the case in the High Court.
“If necessary, we will involve more lawyers in the panel.”
On February 22, the defence counsel filed two separate appeals with the High Court — one seeking bail for Khaleda and the other challenging the trial court verdict.
Also Read - Hearing on Khaleda’s bail plea Sunday
The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim accepted the bail appeal and stayed the special court's fine of Tk 2.10 crore slapped on her. It also asked Dhaka Special Judge’s Court 5, which handed down the sentence to Khaleda, to send the records within 15 workdays.
The High Court bench was supposed to pass its order on the bail petition on Sunday but did not.
It said it would deliver the order after receiving the case records.
BNP trashes 'fictitious' reports
Meanwhile, BNP binned the media reports that said Dr Kamal had turned down the request of BNP second-in-command Mirza Fakhrul to give advice to the defence counsel.
“...those reports are baseless and fictitious. The BNP secretary general visited Dr Kamal Hossain to discuss the case and seek his advice in this regard,” a BNP press release.
Asked, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said they did not have any such information that Dr Kamal had refused to listen to their request.
“...those who believe in democracy cannot but stand by our leader, Khaleda Zia,” he claimed.
Parts of this article were taken from banglatribune.com