However, she will not be able to leave the country during the extension period
The government has stayed the sentence of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, for the fourth time, in two graft cases for another six months through an executive order following an appeal by the family members of the former premier.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal confirmed the matter to reporters at the Secretariat on Sunday.
"Considering an application submitted by family members of Begum Khaleda Zia, the government extended her imprisonment suspension for another six months, upholding the previous conditions," he said.
The Home Ministry issued a gazette notification to this end, saying the order will come into effect from September 25 for the next six months.
The decision was taken as per section 401 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. According to the notification, Khaleda Zia will receive treatment staying at her own residence in Dhaka and will not be allowed to travel abroad during the jail suspension period.
Khaleda Zia has been on temporary release due to the Covid-19 pandemic, subject to certain conditions, since March 25 last year.
She has been facing post-Covid complications after she contracted the virus in April this year.
The conditions of her release are that the BNP chief would receive treatment at home and would not take part in political activities.
According to the law minister, to go abroad for advanced treatment, the only option Khaleda has is to seek presidential clemency by admitting her crimes.
The BNP, however, maintained that she had no reason to do so as she was innocent.
The government of its own accord cannot release someone on parole — the convict has to ask for it, Law Minister Anisul Huq said earlier.
If Khaleda Zia wanted to be taken abroad, she would have to go to jail and apply for it again, he said, adding that the approval of the plea would solely depend on the government’s discretion.
Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail on conditions for six months through an executive order, suspending her sentences on March 25 last year.
She was released from the prison cell of BSMMU the same day and has been staying at her Gulshan residence since then.
On February 8, 2018, Khaleda Zia was sent to Old Dhaka Central Jail after a lower court sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The High Court later doubled her jail term.
The former prime minister was found guilty in another corruption case the same year.