BNP on Friday voiced concerns over media reports that its chairperson, convicted in a graft case, has been kept in jail like an ordinary prisoner.
"We've come to know through newspaper reports that our leader [Khaleda] has been kept like a simple prisoner. We can't be clear what's happening in the jail. We also don't know about her condition in prison now," BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told a press briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters in Dhaka.
Rizvi said the government in no way can treat Khaleda as an ordinary prisoner since she is a “three-time” elected prime minister and the chief of the country's “biggest” political party.
On Thursday, a special court sentenced Khaleda to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Five other accused in the case, including her son and BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment each. The court also fined the five accused Tk2.10 crore each.
Rizvi asked the government when it will stop taking political revenge on their chairperson. "How long will this government continue this level of brutality against an elderly woman like Khaleda Zia?”
He alleged that the government is pushing the country towards a hell out of its political vengeance. "Do you [the government] think people will continuously tolerate your threats and repressive acts?
The top BNP leader said the ministers, MPs and the ruling party leaders had been telling over the last two years that Khaleda will have to go to jail. "It suggests yesterday's (Thursday's) verdict was written long ago. This verdict has reflected the government's vengeance."
Rizvi said many political parties and common people condemned the verdict and turned it down. "Many international organisations, including the United Nations and Human Right Watch, voiced concerns over the verdict."
The government not only used the court, but also all the state machinery to convict Khaleda and Tarique, he further alleged.