The government has decided to release BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail – suspending her prison term for six months
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will not leave the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) tonight, BNP's Publicity Secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anne confirmed.
Earlier, the government has decided to release BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail – suspending her prison term for six months.
The law ministry, in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure, has sent a recommendation to the home ministry in this regard.
Khaleda can receive home treatment during this period but cannot go abroad, said Anisul.
How Khaleda ended up in prison
In February 2018, Khaleda was sentenced to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The jail term was extended by another five years when an appeal was lodged with the High Court.
In November that year, she filed a petition with the Appellate Division seeking acquittal.
Her lawyers, however, are yet to present the petition to the court.
The BNP chief remains behind bars since the day she was sentenced.
Moreover, in October 2018, a special court sentenced her to a seven-year rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Charitable Trust case.
She was also fined Tk10 lakh, and another six-month jail term in case of defaulting on the fine.
The three other convicts of the case received the same punishment.
A month later, an appeal was filed with the High Court.
The court in April last year accepted the appeal for hearing. It suspended the fine and stayed the confiscation of her properties.
Also, the court asked officials concerned to submit case documents within two months. The case documents were sent to the court on June 20.
In July, the High Court dismissed Khaleda's bail petition.
She then submitted a bail petition to the Appellate Division, but the court dismissed it after hearing in December.
The Appellate Division at the time said Khaleda could be provided better treatment if she agreed.
The BNP chairperson again submitted a bail petition to the High Court, which the court rejected in February.
The court said Khaleda had to be provided treatment fast if she agreed and her medical board could include new physicians in the team if it wanted to do so.
Khaleda's family members had repeatedly been calling on the authorities to release her for treatment while her bail petition remained sub judice.
The Nationalist Lawyers' Forum also called on the government to release her under Article 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Amnesty International hailed the decision of the interim release of Khaleda Zia and hoped she would be given unrestricted access to healthcare.
"We welcome the Bangladeshi authorities' decision to conditionally release the opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia from jail on humanitarian grounds. As she is suffering from a life-threatening illness, she must be given unrestricted access to the healthcare she needs," reads a statement sent by Sultan Mohammed Zakaria, South Asia Researcher, of Amnesty International.