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14 February, 2018 01:24:12 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 February, 2018 11:06:53 AM
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BNP gets ready for ‘lengthy’ legal battle

KHALEDA IMPRISONMENT
RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD
BNP gets ready for ‘lengthy’ legal battle

The BNP is prepared to fight a legal as well as political battle to free jailed party chief Khaleda Zia. Party leaders and Khaleda’s lawyers believe a “plot” has been hatched to keep her in prison for a long time by showing her as ‘arrested’ in other cases. This will keep her from securing bail. They believe that though it may take time, Khaleda will be freed by the higher court. “The draft of the appeal to be filed against the trial court verdict is ready. We will file it within hours of receiving the certified copy of the verdict,” said BNP joint secretary general Mahbubuddin Khokan.

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan alleged that the government may try to prolong the legal process of freeing Khaleda, who has been sentenced to five years in jail in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. “We are dealing with the situation both legally and politically. We want her immediate release,” he said.

The BNP leader warned that the government must “understand the situation”, as the party leaders and activists might lose their patience if the legal process is prolonged. “The government should show respect to the peaceful protest by the party leaders and activists in demand of Khaleda’s release,” he said.

BNP vice-chairman and Khaleda’s lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said they think that she will be shown as ‘arrested’ in three or four old cases to delay her bail. “There is a plan to make sure that Khaleda cannot come out of jail easily. However, we are prepared to take the necessary legal measures along with a political course of action on the streets to free her,” he added.

Pointing out that they have not received the certified copy of the verdict even five days after it was delivered, he said it seems that a conspiracy is being hatched to frustrate the party rank and file by keeping Khaleda in jail for a long time.

“If she is shown arrested in other cases, we will go to the magistrate's court, the judge’s court, and the High Court to secure bail, even if it is a long process,” he said.

Hossain claimed that Khaleda’s popularity has actually increased and party

leaders and activists are quite upbeat. “We will file the appeal soon after receiving the certified copy of the verdict and it may take two to three days further for the hearing,” he added.

Mahbubuddin Khokan feared that the law ministry may be influencing the court to prolong the legal process of freeing Khaleda. “If Khaleda is shown as ‘arrested’ in other cases, the involvement of the government in the legal process would be proved. It would also prove that the government, in connivance with the Anti-Corruption Commission, wanted to send Khaleda to jail at any cost,” he alleged.

“If the legal process is delayed, we are prepared to face the situation through legal means,” he said, adding that Khaleda would get bail in higher court.

Another of Khaleda’s lawyers, BNP’s legal affairs secretary Sanaullah Miah, hoped that they would get a certified copy of the verdict today and start the legal process for securing her bail after filing the appeal on the following day.

There are arrest warrants against Khaleda in five cases, of which the High Court has postponed two, he added saying that there is no production warrant or custody warrant against Khaleda, who is now in jail at Nazimudidn Road.

Sources claimed that attempts are on to show Khaleda as ‘arrested’ in the three other cases.

On the other hand, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday accused the government of violating human rights by keeping Khaleda in an abandoned and dilapidated prison.

Addressing a sit-in programme in front of the party central office, Fakhrul said, “Our current movement and struggle are to free the leader of the country and other arrested leaders and activists. This battle is also to free the people of Bangladesh and restore democracy.”

He also said the Awami League-led government has become detached from people and politically bankrupt. He claimed that the government filed fake cases against BNP vice-chairman Tarique Rahman and nearly 1.5 million BNP leaders and activists. He called upon the BNP leaders to continue with the peaceful movement by upholding democratic values.

BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said Khaleda was sent to jail “illegally”. He warned that the BNP would not contest the general elections without Khaleda.

A huge number of party leaders and activists joined the sit-in demonstration. As part of the countrywide programme, the party will organize a seven-hour hunger strike from 11 am today.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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