Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association on Thursday said that the government shifted the ongoing trial of BNP chairperson
and former prime minister Khaleda Zia inside the Old Dhaka Central Jail to illegally hold the trial in camera in the Zia Charitable Case.
Speaking at a news conference, SCBA president Zainul Abedin also said that the trial had been illegally shifted to the Old Dhaka Central Jail to keep the illegal activities of the government in the name of holding her trial out of public view.
He said that the trial venue was shifted deliberately so that the public could neither see nor understand the illegal proceedings against the former prime minister.
Zainul Abedin said that Khaleda’s trial was shifted to the jail to disqualify Khaleda in the parliament election and divert public attention from the demand of free, fair and neutral elections.
He said that Article 35(3) of the Constitution and Section 352 of the Code of Criminal Procedure require holding a court to which the public would get access.
He said that the court had been set up in a small damp room inside the jail to deny her open trial as the Constitution and the CrPC stipulate.
He said that her trial was shifted to the jail only to deny access to her lawyers, relatives and party colleagues.
No fair trial could be held inside the jail, he said.
Zainul said that there were contradictions between the government order on shifting the trial and what the case prosecutor said about the reason for shifting the venue of her trial.
He said that the government order says that her trial had shifted to the jail from the previous crowded venue of trial to ensure security of the trial.
He pointed out that the Anti-Corruption Commission’s lawyer as the prosecutor of the case told reporters the trial was being shifted to the jail because he could not prosecute Khaleda Zia since February 8 when she was jailed in the Zia Orphanage Trust case.
The ACC lawyer also said that Khaleda used to avoid appear at hearing citing her illness.
Law minister Anisul Huq rejected SCBA’s contention that Khaleda Zia’s trial would be held in camera inside the jail.
Anis said that as Khaleda Zia could speak to reporters inside the jail proved that her trial would take place in open court with unrestricted access to all.
The court inside the old central jail did not meet the definition of trial in camera where neither the public nor the media get access.
He said that only the judge, the accused and the lawyers get access.
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