The BNP chief’s conditional release was extended twice since March last year
The family members of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will appeal to the government next week to extend her stay out of jail, for treatment of her post-Covid and other complications at home.
Khaleda Zia's brother Shamim Iskander is likely to file the application by mid-September, when he will also urge the government to waive her punishment in graft cases.
Barrister AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon, a BNP leader and lawyer for Khaleda, made the remarks while talking to Dhaka Tribune.
On May 5, her family applied to the government seeking permission to take her abroad for better treatment. But, the Law Ministry rejected the plea, saying that no provision permits a convict to go abroad for treatment.
To avail the scope, the former premier would have to seek presidential clemency admitting her crimes, a proposition rejected by the BNP.
On August 28, Law Minister Anisul Huq said: "Subject to the government's permission under Section 401 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Khaleda Zia has the opportunity to go abroad but she will have to go to jail again and apply anew."
The minister said the May 5 application had, by now, been disposed of, resulting in her conditional release leaving no scope to allow her to go abroad.
Khaleda Zia has been on temporary release, subjected to certain conditions, since March 25 last year. Her health condition deteriorated after she was infected with Covid-19.
The 76-year-old BNP chief tested positive for Covid-19 twice in a month - on April 10 and April 24. She returned to her home on June 19, after being hospitalized for nearly two months for coronavirus infection and other complications.
Khaleda's sister Selima Islam told Dhaka Tribune: “We are not thinking about taking her abroad due to the Covid-19 situation. We will appeal to the government following consultations with the lawyers.”
Selima hoped that the government would consider their appeal since Khaleda Zia had long been taking treatment abroad for her health issues.
Amid the coronavirus 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 August 27 last year, the government extended her release for six more months. It was extended again for another six months on March 15.
The conditions are - BNP chief would take treatment from home in Dhaka and would not go abroad during this period, according to the circular issued by the Home Ministry said last year.
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.
The BNP maintains that both the cases are politically motivated.
The party has recently been campaigning to drum up public support to wage a strong movement and oust the current government, free Khaleda Zia from jail and restore democracy in the country.