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Government suspends Khaleda Zia's sentence for 6 more months

  • Published at 03:20 pm September 15th, 2020
khaleda zia released -MHO-DT
FIle photo: BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, assisted by her sister Selima Rahman, younger brother Shamim Eskander and his wife Kaniz Fatema, comes out of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Sentences of the BNP chief have been suspended from September 25

The government has suspended Bangladesh Nationalist Party Chairperson Khaleda Zia's sentences in two cases for six more months.

Sentences of Khaleda Zia have been suspended from September 25 on two conditions, said a circular issued by the Home Ministry on Tuesday.

The conditions are -- BNP chief would take treatment from home in Dhaka and would not go abroad during this period, it read.

The government suspended her jail sentence under Sub-Section 1 of Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which says: "When any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence, the Government may at any time without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced."

Earlier, in consideration of an application from her family, the Ministry of Law recommended extending the stay on Khaleda Zia's jail term for six more months.

Khaleda Zia was released from prison for six months on March 25 as the Covid-19 outbreak started to unfold in the country. That release order will expire on September 24.

On August 25, in an application to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Khaleda Zia's younger brother Shamim Eskander sought an extension of the stay on her jail term, mentioning no time frame.

Barrister AKM Ehsanur Rahman, one of Khaleda's lawyers, told Dhaka Tribune that the former prime minister was not getting proper treatment due to the pandemic and therefore her family had sought the extension for her treatment.

The Home Ministry then forwarded the application to the Law Ministry for its opinion. Giving a positive opinion, the Law Ministry sent it back to the Home Ministry.

Law Minister Anisul Huq told Dhaka Tribune on September 3 that they were of the opinion that her release term can be extended on the previous conditions.

"We have sent back the file to the Home Ministry. The prime minister is the chief executive of the state. The ministry will send it to her office for approval," he added. 

Why was Khaleda in jail?

On July 3, 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against Khaleda Zia, her son and BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others at Ramna police station, accusing them of misappropriating Tk2.1 crore of donations meant for a trust to be formed in her husband's name.

On February 8, 2018, a special court convicted Khaleda and sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the case. She was sent to serve her sentence at a special jail in the old Dhaka Central Jail building on Nazimuddin Road.

Later, the High Court extended Khaleda Zia's prison term in the graft case to 10 years.

Meanwhile, the BNP chief and three others were sentenced to seven years in jail in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case on October 29, 2018.

The ACC filed the case on August 8, 2011, at Tejgaon police station against Khaleda and three others, accusing them of abuse of power in raising funds for the trust from unknown sources.