The Dhaka special judge’s court 5 of Thursday posted for September 20 its decision on the prosecution plea for giving verdict skipping hearing on arguments for jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and others in Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Charitable Trust case.
The government on Thursday formed a fresh medical board for examining the former prime minister in jail.
Anti-Corruption Commission prosecutor Musharraf Hossain Kajol moved a petition for skipping the hearing of arguments stating that Khaleda was unwilling to appear in the makeshift courtroom inside the old Dhaka Central Jail while defence counsel of other accused were not making arguments.
The prison authority for the second consecutive day reported to the court that Khaleda was unwilling to appear before the court. Earlier on September 5, appearing in the makeshift court in jail for the first time, she told the court, ‘There is no justice here. Punish me as much as you want, but I cannot appear here [the court] frequently as I am sick.’
The prosecutor cited Section 540A of the Code of Criminal Procedure that stipulated provisions for inquiries and trial being held in the absence of accused in certain cases.
Defence lawyers Sanaullah Miah, Masud Ahmed Talukdar and Aminul Islam argued that the provision could be used for the person escaping trial but Khaleda was now in jail and sick.
‘Give us time to meet her in prison,’ said Sanaullah Miah.
After the hearing for one hour and a half, the judge Md Akhteruzzaman set September 20 for giving his decision.
The judge asked the prison authority to allow defence counsel to meet Khaleda as per the Jail Code, and extended bails to two other accused Monirul Islam Khan and Ziaul Hoque Munna.
The other accused, Abul Harris Chowdhury, the then prime minister Khaleda Zia’s political secretary, is being tried in his absence as he still in hiding.
Previously, the proceedings used to take place at a makeshift court at Bakshibazar but on September 4, the law ministry issued a gazette notification on setting up of the makeshift court inside the jail.
On February 8, the same court jailed Khaleda for five years in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The government on Thursday formed a five-member fresh medical board with experts in various departments of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University to examine Khaleda’s health, home ministry sources said.
The board is likely to examine Khaleda in jail on September 15 or 16, the sources said.
Internal medicine department professor Abdul Jalil Chowdhury will lead the medical board that includes Harisul Hoque of cardiology, Abu Zafar Chowdhury Biru of orthopaedic surgery, Tarik Reza Ali of ophthalmology and Barunnesa Ahmed of physical medicine.
The medical board was formed as per requirement made by a BNP delegation led by its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir when they met home minister Asaduzzman Khan on September 10, they said.
The BNP delegation also demanded that the government should provide treatment to Khaleda Zia at any specialised hospital of her choice, and preferred United Hospital and Apollo Hospital.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics