The BNP chief, however, can be allowed to go abroad by getting the government’s permission in line with Section 401 of the CrPC
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said that the government did not allow Khaleda Zia to go abroad for medical treatment fearing her return to politics.
He made the claim during a press conference held at the party chairperson's Gulshan office on Tuesday.
The senior BNP leader said that there is a misconception that the former prime minister will go abroad, will not return and still be involved in politics.
He added: "The government has set a bad precedent by not giving Khaleda Zia access to medical treatment outside the country."
Fakhrul said that the request to take their party chief abroad for better treatment was made by her family following the advice of her doctors as her condition is critical.
On Sunday, the Law Ministry had rejected the family’s plea on legal grounds.
“There is no provision that permits a convict to go abroad for treatment,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters after receiving the law minister’s opinion on the matter. “It is not possible [for us] to do anything outside the law.”
Alleging that Khaleda also did not get bail in the cases against her due to a "dual policy in the judiciary," he said: "The government's goal is to keep her [Khaleda] away from politics and wipe BNP out from Bangladesh's political spectrum."
He said: "Doctors are concerned about her [Khaleda's] kidney and heart problems. Her condition is still critical. However, her oxygen saturation is improving."
Only way left
Fakhrul said the BNP chief can be allowed to go abroad by getting permission in line with Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Contacted, Khaleda’s lawyers also told Dhaka Tribune that she could travel abroad for better treatment if the government relaxes the conditions of her release or lifts her sentence under Section 401.
Barrister Kaiser Kamal said: “If this condition is relaxed, revoked or amended through a new gazette notification, she [Khaleda] will be able to go abroad for advanced treatment. It will be possible to take her outside the country only if the executive order is revised.”
Barrister AKM Ehsanur Rahman, another lawyer of Khaleda, echoed the same.
On May 5, Khaleda’s younger brother Shamim Iskander met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and submitted an application seeking permission to send her abroad for advanced treatment.
The 76-year-old BNP chief, who tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time on April 24, was admitted to Evercare Hospital on April 27 for a thorough health checkup.
The next day, the hospital formed a 10-member medical board for her treatment.
Last Monday, she was shifted to the hospital’s Coronary Care Unit with shortness of breath. Her breathing problem later eased.
Khaleda had tested positive for Covid-19 the first time on April 10 along with eight other people at her residence.
She tested negative for Covid-19 on Saturday, 27 days after she tested positive.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, on March 25 last year, Khaleda was released from jail after the government suspended her sentences and verdict for six months through an executive order under two conditions – she would have to take treatment at her Gulshan residence and that she cannot travel abroad.
On August 27 last year, the government extended her release for six more months. It was extended again for another six months on March 15 this year.
It may be recalled that on February 8, 2018, the former prime minister was lodged in the old Dhaka Central Jail after a lower court jailed her for five years in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The High Court later doubled her jail term.
She was also found guilty in another corruption case the same year.