In an email to the Dhaka Tribune, the British legal expert shared his opinions on the corruption case that put the BNP chief in jail for five years
Baron Alex Carlile, the UK barrister who is on the team of lawyers providing legal counsel to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, said he believed that the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, for which Khaleda was sentenced to prison, is a political ploy.
Replying to an email recently sent by the Dhaka Tribune, the British lawyer said the many documents that he have examined “reveal no evidence whatsoever of any criminal actions” by his client, Khaleda Zia.
“The case is politically motivated, and the independence or otherwise of the court is a matter for concern,” he further wrote, agreeing with BNP's allegations that Khaleda's imprisonment was a part of a political game to keep her away from the political arena, especially during the 11th parliamentary election which is scheduled in December this year.
Asked what his role was in Khaleda's legal counsel team, Lord Carlile wrote: “I am one of her team of counsel. I advise on international law compliance, procedure, and whether there is any evidence of fraud on her part... I advise in particular as to whether the proceedings are compliant with international rule of law principles as applied in Common Law jurisdictions.”
Regarding Khaleda's bail, he said he was hopeful that she would be granted bail under Bangladeshi law if it is applied properly.
A veteran lawyer, Lord Carlile has extensive experience of cases involving fraud, regulation, judicial review and public policy. He is an active member of the House of Lords – the upper house of the UK Parliament.
The UK wing of BNP – under the directive of acting party chairman Tarique Rahman – hired Lord Carlile to advise on the 36 cases filed against Khaleda Zia, BNP announced on March 20.
However, he could not physically appear at a hearing in the Appellate Division in Dhaka on May 8 as his visa application was not approved.
“Our local lawyers are quite capable, but we have failed to get our chairperson released despite being granted bail. The government is deliberately keeping her in jail to keep her out of the national polls,” said BNP Standing Committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury.
The party, along with Khaleda's legal counsels, is now planning to hold a meeting with Lord Carlile in New Delhi, India, followed by a press conference on July 13 at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of South Asia.
At the press conference, the British lawyer is expected to explain the current situation of Bangladeshi politics independence of judiciary, and why the BNP chairperson is being held in prison prior to the national election, several BNP leaders said.