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Is Lord Carlile a better lawyer for Khaleda?

  • Published at 09:34 am March 21st, 2018
Is Lord Carlile a better lawyer for Khaleda?
BNP has appointed eminent British lawyer Lord Carlile to serve as the legal counsel of party Chief Khaleda Zia in cases filed against her. Party leaders and lawyers have revealed that the decision to appoint the British lawyer was taken more out of political needs, rather than a legal necessity. They also believe that the move to appoint Lord Carlile would help spread information to the rest of the world about the current situation of democracy, human rights and the judicial system in Bangladesh. However, the physical presence of Lord Carlile at the trial depends on the permission of the court and the bar council. BNP lawyers have already started the process. According to BNP insiders, the final hearing on the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case is scheduled to be held soon. The veteran British lawyer was appointed to help bring the case into a favorable conclusion. Party leaders also stated: “Lord Carlile will help create a positive public opinion in the international community in favour of Khaleda Zia. “He will also showcase the shortcomings of democratic process and human rights in Bangladesh, through his speeches and statements in western and European countries.” The Appellate Division on Monday stayed until May 8 the High Court order that granted bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Lord Carlile’s appointment: Is it a step in the right direction?

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said: “Supporters of the BNP in Britain appointed British legal counsel Lord Carlile. “He will provide support and legal counsel to defence lawyers on 36 cases currently filed against the BNP chief.” He said: “Lord Carlile has been involved with law and British politics. He is also a member of the House of Lords in the British Parliament.” Responding to a query, BNP Standing Committee Member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said: “Lord Carlile has been appointed as the legal counsel and his role will be to provide counsel to our lawyers.” He further said: “Cases against Khaleda Zia and her imprisonment has become an international issue. The US Congress has held discussions about it. The European Union and the United Nations are aware of this issue.” The BNP leader added: “Everyone wants the 11th general polls to be held in an inclusive manner. However, Khaleda Zia’s conviction has made the possibility of an inclusive election difficult. The matter has become an international issue.” On the other hand, the BNP Chairperson’s lawyer Advocate Aminul Islam believes that Khaleda Zia’s human rights are being violated, due to the efforts taken by the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to cancel her bail. Speaking to the correspondent, he said: “Lord Carlile will give us counsel based on how the human rights issue is being handled by British law. “Through his guidance, we will present our argument before the court through a rich submission. He can also help us spread the issue across the international arena.” Aminul added: “He will play a role in showcasing the declining human rights situation in Bangladesh to the international forums.” Following his appointment as the BNP chief’s lawyer, Lord Carlile on Tuesday said: “I will provide legal counsel to Khaleda Zia based on international laws and Code of Criminal Procedure in Bangladesh.” A source from the BNP revealed that the decision to appoint a foreign lawyer was taken by the party policy makers, including the acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.
Also Read- UK legal counsel defending Khaleda plans to visit Bangladesh
  Bangladesh’s existing law does not prohibit the appointment of a foreign lawyer by any defendant. Standing Committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said: “Lawyers and senior party leaders made the decision together to appoint Lord Carlile as the legal counsel.” BNP International Secretary Barrister Nawshad Zamir told the correspondent: “Lord Carlile is an eminent lawyer from UK and also a former member of the parliament. “He is a professional of a large profile, and he will work with our lawyers as the defence policy advisor.” Another senior BNP leader, preferring to be anonymous, said: “The decision to appoint Lord Carlile first came from the party’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman. “The decision was later conveyed to the lawyers by Mirza Fakhrul in a meeting.”

Do Khaleda Zia’s lawyers have shortcomings?

A number of BNP leaders believe that the shortcoming of Bangladeshi lawyers in defending Khaleda Zia in court has forced the party to hire a foreign one. A BNP vice chairman, preferring not to be named, told the correspondent: “The complications arising in the bail process of Khaleda Zia are certainly the shortcomings of the lawyers.” On the other hand, one of Khaleda’s defence lawyers and BNP Vice Chairman Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said: “There is a political agenda behind the appointment of Lord Carlile. But, I do not know what it is. “The British counsel will need the bar council’s permission to visit Bangladesh.” Mahbub, with a firm voice, added: “As a lawyer representing the BNP chief, I believe there is no need for a foreign lawyer for handling the cases against Khaleda Zia. The bail of the party chairperson is in limbo because of the government. “I personally believe that we do not need the counsel of a foreign lawyer.” However, the BNP is yet to figure out how Carlile’s appointment would speed up Khaleda’s release from prison. Lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain said: “He [Lord Carlile] is an eminent lawyer but I cannot comment on whether he will be successful or not regarding Khaleda’s cases.” Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said: “It is not about the result, we are doing everything we can to free our leader Khaleda Zia.” Echoing the same opinion, BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Jamir Uddin Sarkar said: “We want the counsel of a foreign expert for the final hearing. The world must know what is going on in Bangladesh’s courts. “Lord Carlile could attend the court proceedings in person after securing permission from the court and the bar council. We will begin the initiative to secure the permission soon.” This article was first published on banglatribune.com
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