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13 December, 2019 12:45:50 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 December, 2019 11:34:23 AM
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SC rejects Khaleda bail plea

Orders advanced treatment for BNP chief
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
SC rejects Khaleda bail plea
Pro-BNP lawyers chant slogans on the High Court premises in the capital yesterday as they protest against the rejection Khaleda Zia’s bail petition. Independent Photo

The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) Appellate Division yesterday dismissed an appeal filed by BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia against a High Court (HC) order that had turned down her bail petition in a corruption case. After concluding arguments of state and defence counsel, a six-member Appellate Division bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, came up with the dismissal order. “The petition is dismissed with observation,” it said. During the deliberation on the apex court order, the Chief Justice said: “This is a unanimous order. The petition is dismissed." The medical board has been directed to take steps immediately to provide the petitioner with advanced treatment. If Khaleda Zia gives her consent for advanced treatment, the medical board of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) should take steps immediately to provide her with advanced treatment, the apex court said.

Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, one of the counsels for Khaleda, expressed dissatisfaction over the apex court order. “We appeared in the legal fight seeking bail for Khaleda Zia. It is unprecedented that the top court did not consider bail in a case, in which the accused got only seven years' simple imprisonment. It's a scandalous event for the SC,” he said. Attorney general Mahbubey Alam said: “The Appellate Division dismissed Khaleda Zia’s bail petition after hearing the parties. But the court directed the medical board to give her advanced treatment with her consent. We submitted three medical reports in the court. We showed the court that her physical condition has not deteriorated significantly.”

“In some cases, Khaleda Zia is not giving consent to the doctors for her treatment, according to the report. Next,

the court directed the doctors to provide her treatment with her consent,” the chief law officer of the state added.

Earlier in the morning, the six-member bench of the Appellate Division started the hearing on Khaleda Zia's bail pleas after receiving the medical report submitted by the SC registrar general, Ali Akbor.

According to the medical report prepared by the seven-member medical board that Khaleda Zia has been suffering from diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cough variant Asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis with secondary Sjogren syndrome with bilateral total knee replacement due to advanced knee osteoarthritis.

The board also commented that her blood pressure and asthma is well controlled. The diabetic state needs further control.

After disclosure of the medical report, advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain told the court that a large number of deputy attorney generals and assistant attorney generals were present at the courtroom, whereas the defence counsel (Pro-BNP lawyers) have been barred to enter the courtroom. Then, the Chief Justice said only Appellate Division-enrolled lawyers would be allowed to enter the courtroom.

However, the Chief Justice finally asked both parties to keep 30 lawyers each from the defence and state sides.

At the same time, the pro-BNP lawyers created chaos and shouted at the entrance of the courtroom, as the police and administration did not allow all of them into the courtroom.

During the hearing, advocate Zainul Abedin, counsel for Khaleda, read out the medical report and prayed to the apex court to grant her bail on humanitarian grounds, saying that his client's health condition is not good. She needs advanced treatment as per the medical board's recommendations. So, at this stage it is right that she gets bail, he added.

Zainul cited many examples of apex court orders that granted bail on humanitarian grounds and medical grounds even after the accused persons were convicted by lower courts and the High Court in various cases.

He also said that the Pakistan supreme court ordered the authorities concerned to bring a former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, before the court in an ambulance to know his health condition. After producing him before the court, it allowed him to go abroad for treatment.

As per the medical board's recommendations, Khaleda needs treatment abroad as the treatment provided by the BSMMU is not enough for her recovery, he added.

Opposing his submission, attorney general Mahbubey Alam told the court that Khaleda Zia is not seriously ill as she has long been suffering from these diseases. She went to jail after being conviction by the lower court with these diseases. The authorities concerned provided Khaleda with treatment in line with the High Court directive, he said.

It is possible for Khaleda to recover by the treatment provided by BSMMU, as her treatment is going on after formation of a medical board, he added.

He also said that the offences have been committed by a former prime minister and not a common citizen. Considering the gravity of the offences, the lower court convicted her and the High Court also upheld the verdict. So, she should not get bail in the case, he noted.

The ACC lawyer, advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, told the court that the High Court rejected Khaleda's bail prayer as the accused person committed the offence while in a high position of the state. So, she cannot get bail in the case, he added.

The authorities made fool-proof security arrangements in and around the court premises to avoid any untoward incident during the hearing. As part of the security measures, the SC administration had set up eight closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the Chief Justice’s courtroom of the Appellate Division. Additional policemen were deployed in front of the entrance of the SC and people wanting to enter the court premises were thoroughly checked.

Soon after the bail petition was dismissed, the Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum brought out a protest procession on the Supreme Court premises and termed the apex court order as "politically motivated".

On December 5, the apex court had directed the BSMMU authorities to submit the medical report of the BNP chief by December 11 without fail. On November 29, an apex court bench had sought Khaleda’s medical report to know her health condition while hearing her bail petition in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. The bench had asked the BSMMU authorities to submit Khaleda’s medical report in the court by December 5. But the BSMMU sought time on December 5, and then the apex court set December 12 for further hearing on the bail petition.

Khaleda moved the top court on November 14, challenging an HC order that had turned down her bail petition in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. On September 11, the HC bench of Justices Farid Ahmed and ASM Abdul Mobin had rejected Khaleda’s bail petition in the case in which she is serving a 10-year sentence. Her bail petitions were turned down twice before, on July 31 and September 3.

On August 8, 2011, the ACC lodged the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon police station against four people, including Khaleda. They were accused of abusing power in raising funds for the trust from unknown sources. A special court jailed the BNP chief and three others for seven years in the corruption case on October 29 last year. Khaleda later moved the HC, which increased her sentence by three more years.

The BNP supremo has been in prison since February 8, 2018, after she was sentenced to jail for five years in a separate corruption case. On October 6, Khaleda was admitted to the BSMMU for better treatment in response to a court order.

MK/SI

 

 

 

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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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