• Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Law Ministry clears extension of Khaleda Zia's stay out of jail by six more months

  • Published at 12:58 pm March 8th, 2021
File photo: BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia being released from BSMMU prison cell in Dhaka on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Her sentences were previously suspended from September 25 last year on two conditions

The Law Ministry again has recommended suspending BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's prison sentences in two graft cases for six more months in line with previously set conditions.

Minister Anisul Huq signed the documents related to the matter on Monday, according to a ministry media statement.

The documents recommending the sentence waiver extension have already been sent to the Home Ministry, said a statement by the ministry's Public Relations Officer Md Rezaul Karim.

Last week, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said an application seeking waiver of Khaleda Zia's punishment and extending the stay on her sentence has been sent to the Law Ministry.

"It will be sent back to the Home Ministry following getting the Law Ministry's recommendation before it's forwarded to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," he told the media at the secretariat.

"Khaleda Zia's brother Shamim Iskandar filed the appeal [on March 2] seeking extension on the stay of the sentence where he also urged to waive her punishment," the minister added.

Also Read - Government suspends Khaleda Zia's sentence for 6 more months

On March 3, the home minister said BNP sought relaxation of conditions as its chief could not receive treatment during the pandemic. 

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail on conditions for six months on an executive order suspending her sentences on March 25 last year.

The conditions included the BNP chief would take treatment from home in Dhaka and would not go abroad during this period.

She was released from the prison cell of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) the same day, and she has been staying at her Gulshan residence since then.

Later on, the government extended her release for six more months from September 25.

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."

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.

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