The court fixed Thursday as the new date for the next hearing
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has declined to appear before a special court in the Old Dhaka Central Jail, for her hearing in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
Md Akhtaruzzaman of Special Judges’ Court-5, temporarily set in the Old Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road, adjourned the hearing after it was informed of Khaleda's refusal to appear before the court on Wednesday. The court also fixed Thursday as the date for the next hearing.
The court also asked the prosecution how legal proceedings will continue if the three-time former prime minister refuses to come to court.
At 12:20pm, the judge entered the court. At that time, Khaleda's lawyer Sanaullah Mia appealed for an extension of her bail. He also forwarded an application to the court.
In the application, he mentioned that the set up of a special court in the old Dhaka central jail through a gazette notification, without the Supreme Court's permission, is unlawful and unconstitutional. He also informed the court of Khaleda's illness.
Aminul Haque, lawyer of other accused in the case Ziaul Islam, said legal proceedings of the case are unlawful. He appealed to stay the case for a month.
Raising questions over whether a 12X24 feet room can even be called a court, Aminul said: "There are no places to sit here. Seniors have to stand. A room like this cannot be called an open court. I ask for the chief justice's attention on this matter."
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajal said although Wednesday had been fixed as the date for the hearing, Khaleda's lawyer only asked for her bail extension and raised questions over the legitimacy of the court.
After the hearing, the judge asked the prosecution the next steps they are going to take to continue legal proceedings.
When Khaleda's lawyers asked for an extension of her bail, the judged fixed Thursday as the new date for the hearing on whether it should continue proceedings in absence of Khaleda Zia.
Previously, when the BNP chairperson appeared before the special court on September 5, she said she "would not find any justice there," and the court could "punish her as long and as much as they wanted". She also complained of illness.
On September 4, a gazette notification was issued by the Law Ministry regarding the shift in the location of the court from the makeshift court at Bakshibazar to old Dhaka central jail. The notification mentioned that the court had been moved inside the jail for security reasons.
It also said the makeshift court would be set up in Room 7 of the prison’s administrative building.
Prosecution lawyers said the decision was made because Khaleda Zia has not been produced before the makeshift court at Bakshibazar during the hearings of the casesince her conviction in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8.
The former prime minister is currently serving five years imprisonment at the Old Dhaka Central Jail.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Charitable Trust case at Tejgaon Police Station in August 2011. Khaleda and three others were accused of abusing power to raise funds from unknown sources for the trust.
The three other accused in the case are: Harris Chowdhury, political secretary of then prime minister Khaleda Zia between 2001 and 2006; Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary to Harris; and Monirul Islam Khan, APS to former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Hearing on Khaleda's bail for Comilla arson attack case on Thursday
A Comilla court on Wednesday fixed Thursday, September 13, for further hearing on a petition seeking bail for BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, in a case filed under the Special Powers Act over an arson attack in Chouddagram upazila of the district in 2015.
The court, led by District and Sessions Judge KM Shamsul, issued the order following an appeal, according to Khaleda’s lawyer Kaimul Haque Ringku.
Eight people were killed and 20 others injured when miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at a bus in Chouddagram’s Jogmohanpur during the BNP-led alliance's movement on February 3, 2015. Two cases were filed against Khaleda Zia over the incident.