A Dhaka court today directed to the jail authorities to provide BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who was jailed for five years in a graft case, with the facilities of first class division as per the provision of the jail code.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Court-5 in Dhaka passed the order after Khaleda’s lawyer Sanaullah Miah moved a petition before the court seeking division for her in jail.
The lawyer also submitted another petition for providing certified copy of the judgment as early as possible as they would file an appeal with the High Court challenging the lower court verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.
According to the jail code, a prisoner, who is provided with the division, gets a bed, a table, chair, a newspaper and a television in the prison.
While asked, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan today said the government has already executed the court’s order that provided Khaleda with the division.
“We have already taken necessary steps in jail for BNP chief Khaleda Zia considering her the former prime minister and also her social dignity,” the minister was talking to reporters after a meeting at Secretariat in the afternoon.
Soon after the verdict was delivered on Thursday, Khaleda landed at the old central jail on Nazimuddin Road in Dhaka.
Since then, BNP senior leaders has been accusing the government of keeping the party's chairperson Khaleda Zia in solitary confinement at the “abandoned” Dhaka central jail and alleged that Khleda is not being treated well there.
The government would be held responsible if anything bad happened to her in jail, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a press conference at the party chief's Gulshan office last night.
After meeting Khaleda at jail yesterday, BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed alleged that Khaleda has been kept in the jail just like any other ordinary prisoner. It is the violation of the Jail Code because she is supposed to get division [status] as a former prime minister and the chief of a political party.
The government, however, claims that Khaleda is being treated as a “first class prisoner”, getting all her due benefits.
The special court also sentenced Khaleda's eldest son and BNP Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Tk 2.10 crore each.
The Anti-Corruption Commission had filed the case with Ramna Police Station in July 2008, accusing Khaleda and the five convicts of misappropriating over Tk 2.1 crore that had come from a foreign bank as grants for orphans.
The verdict is a severe blow to the party ahead of the upcoming national elections.