Police pressed charge sheets in the two defamation cases
The indictment hearings in two defamation cases against BNP chief Khaleda Zia have been deferred till September 30 since the former premier failed to appear before the court on Sunday.
Khaleda’s counsel filed a petition at the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Muhammad Asaduzzaman Noor on her behalf seeking time, mentioning her illness.
The same court on August 26 set Sunday to start the hearing as the regular court proceedings resumed after a long break due to the spread of the coronavirus.
One of the cases was filed for celebrating her birthday on National Mourning Day on August 15.
Journalist Gazi Jahirul Islam lodged the case against the BNP chief on August 30, 2016. According to the complainant, Khaleda, from 1996, has been celebrating her “fake birthday” on August 15, the day when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most of his family members in 1975.
The complainant also submitted copies of different newspaper clippings on Khaleda’s birthday, copies of her passport, marriage certificate, and mark sheets, which indicates her birthday on any other day, but not August 15.
The other case was filed by AB Siddiqui, president of Jananetri Parishad, on November 3, 2016, against Khaleda Zia and her late husband Ziaur Rahman for patronizing the anti-liberation elements like Razakars and al-Badr members, and making them ministers and MPs.
Tejgaon police pressed charges in this case on February 25, 2017 and asked the court to drop the name of late president Ziaur Rahman.
Khaleda Zia, 76, has been on bail in both cases since July 31, 2018.
Meanwhile, another Dhaka court has set October 20 to hold indictment hearings in 11 other cases filed against her on various charges, including corruption and sedition.
The three-time former premier was released from jail in March last year under an executive order of the government for treatment.
Her health condition deteriorated after she was infected with Covid-19 twice in a month - on April 10 and April 24 this year.
She returned to her home on June 19, after being hospitalized for nearly two months for coronavirus infection and other complications.
On February 8, 2018, Khaleda Zia was sent to Old Dhaka Central Jail after a lower court sentenced her to five-year imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The High Court later doubled her jail term.
The former prime minister was found guilty in another corruption case the same year.