BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia may have to stay in jail for one more week as her counsel has not yet received the certified copy of the graft case verdict that sent her to jail for five years.
Earlier, her lawyers and party leaders hoped that they would receive the copy yesterday afternoon but to no avail.
According to sources at the Dhaka Special Court 5 that delivered the verdict, the copy was expected to be out yesterday.
“Processing the certified copy is almost complete,” Mokarram Hossain, Dhaka Special Court 5 assistant bench officer, told the Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.
Khaleda's lawyers cannot file an appeal with the High Court against the lower court verdict and seek bail for her until they get the certified copy.
Soon after the judgement was announced on February 8, BNP Standing Committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed said they would get the copy on Sunday and file the appeal on that day or the following day.
But the lawyers did not receive the copy yesterday, causing fresh frustrations and grievances among BNP leaders and activists.
The party’s senior joint secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi accused the government of interfering in the court’s functions and harassing their chairperson, saying: “The process has been delayed due to the government’s interference.”
Also Read - Graft case verdict sends Khaleda Zia to jail for 5 years
Khaleda's lawyer and BNP Vice-Chairman Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said they might receive the copy today.
“If we get the certified copy today and we have enough time, then we will lodge an appeal with the High Court in the evening,” he said.
“It may take three to four days for the higher court to complete the entire bail procedures. Our chairperson [Khaleda] would be granted bail within the next week,” added Mahbub.
Protests to continue
Meanwhile, the BNP top brass said their peaceful protest programs across the country would continue until Khaleda is released.
Nazrul Islam Khan, another Standing Committee member of the party, said: “The court’s delay in issuing the judgement’s copy might cause an outburst of anger among leaders and activists, which in turn would lead to violent protests across the country.”
Also Read - BNP begins hunger strike seeking Khaleda’s release
As part of their countrywide protest programs demanding Khaleda’s release, another top BNP leader said they were now planning to collect mass signatures from all over the country in support of the BNP chief’s release.
Kallyan Party to form human chain
Leaders of the Bangladesh Kallyan Party, a member of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, announced that they would form a human chain under their party’s banner in front of National Press Club in Dhaka today morning to protest the jailing of alliance chief Khaleda Zia and demand her immediate release.
BNP leaders sit with EU delegates
The BNP top brass yesterday held a meeting with a delegation of the European Union Parliamentary Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs.
The meeting was held at Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office in Dhaka in the evening, BNP’s media wing staff Sairul Kabir Khan said.
Party insiders said participants at the meeting discussed the jailing of Khaleda, the authorities’ delay in issuing the verdict’s copy, and the country’s present political scenario.
Top BNP leaders including Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Standing Committee members Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and Barrister Moudud Ahmed were present there.
Meanwhile, yesterday, seven physicians were denied permission to see the BNP chief at prison.