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6 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Punish me for as long as you want

Says Khaleda as she bursts out against ‘injustice’ in court
Staff Reporter
Punish me for as long as you want

“There is no justice here,” BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia said after appearing in a court on a wheelchair yesterday. “Punish me for as many days as you want; punish me for as long as you want. I cannot come here repeatedly in this situation. I am ill. My legs will swell if I keep sitting this way for long. I know this court will not deliver fair justice,” the three-time former premier told the special judge court-5, which is hearing the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.

The special court was held inside the jailhouse where Khaleda has been lodged since her conviction in another case on February 8.

Khaleda alleged that her lawyers were not allowed to take part in the hearing to defend her. “If I knew that my lawyers would not be allowed in the court, I would not have come,” she added.

Special court-5 judge Md Akhtaruzzaman entered the newly set up courtroom in the jailhouse around 11.08 am. Police then brought the BNP chairperson on a wheelchair around 12.12 pm. Soon after, the court started the hearing that lasted for less than half an hour. The court fixed September 12 and 13 for the next hearing.

Clad in a pink dress, Khaleda seemed to be having difficulty in moving her left hand. “I am seriously ill. My hand and leg have become paralysed. I cannot come here repeatedly,” Khaleda told the court during yesterday’s proceedings.

At one stage, the BNP chief asked the court as to why the gazette notification to shift the courtroom was issued on Tuesday night, although the decision was taken a week ago.  

“My senior lawyers are not present here. If I knew this, I wouldn’t have come here today,” she said.

“The courtroom was set up inside the jailhouse only to punish me. There is no justice. Injustice is being delivered in the name of justice,” she added.

After this, the court asked the two other accused in the case—Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan—to communicate with their lawyers, who were also absent yesterday.

The judge wanted to adjourn hearing for an hour so that the lawyers could come for the hearing in the meantime.

After taking the court’s permission, Dhaka Bar Association president Advocate Golam Mostafa Khan said the court should adjourn hearing in the case as no senior lawyer was present on behalf of Khaleda.

Khan said the prosecution had sent a notice to the defence team regarding the shifting of the courtroom from Bakhsibazar to the jailhouse just a night prior to the hearing. “The defence lawyers were not informed about the shifting of the court in a proper manner. Hence, the court should fix a new date of hearing,” he added.

However, prosecution lawyer Advocate Mosarraf Hossain Kajol countered that the court had earlier fixed the date for hearing. The government too had issued a gazette notification relating to the shifting of court in the jailhouse “which was communicated to the defence lawyer properly”. A notice was also put up at the Bakhsibazar Alia Madrassa field in this regard, he added.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing till September 12 and 13. While leaving the courtroom, Khaleda told reporters: “My left leg is swollen almost to the level of paralysis. My left hand is in a similar condition.”

The law ministry had issued a gazette notification on Tuesday, saying the proceedings in the Zia Charitable Trust case would now be held at the old central jail on Nazimuddin Road. The decision was made taking Khaleda’s security into consideration. Earlier, the trial proceedings in the case were held in a makeshift court in Bakshibazar area.

The Anti-Corruption Commission had filed the case at Tejgaon police station in August 2011, accusing Khaleda and three others of abusing their power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.

The three other accused are Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to Khaleda during her premiership between 2001 and 2006, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary (APS) to Harris, and Monirul Islam Khan, APS of former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.

Meanwhile, Khaleda has served a legal notice on the government asking it to revoke the gazette notification shifting the special court to old Central Jail for the trial of the Zia Charitable Trust graft case against her.

BNP chief’s lawyer Barrister Nawshad Jamir sent the legal notice to the law secretary by post yesterday noon.

Barrister Nawshad Jamir said he sent the legal notice seeking cancellation of the gazette notification on the shifting of the court within September 8.

He also said they will take recourse to law if necessary legal steps are not taken in this connection.

According to the legal notice, the government’s decision to use a room of the administrative building of the old Central Jail as a temporary court is motivated and the misuse of section 9 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


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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.

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