Appellate Division rejects Khaleda’s bail appeal

BSMMU asked to immediately provide advanced biologic treatment

M Moneruzzaman | Published: 11:38, Dec 12,2019 | Updated: 00:08, Dec 13,2019


Lawyers supporting the Bangladesh Nationalist Party go out on demonstration at the Supreme Court premises after the Appellate Division rejected a bail prayer by party chairperson Khaleda Zia on Thursday. — Abdullah Apu

The Appellate Division on Thursday dismissed detained former prime minister and BNP Khaleda Zia’s appeal against rejection of her bail by the High Court Division in the Zia Charitable Trust Case.

A six-member bench chaired by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain also directed the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University to provide her advanced biologic treatment immediately with her consent.

Biological or biologic therapy is treatment designed to stimulate or restore the ability of the body’s immune (natural internal defense) system to fight infection and disease. Biological therapy is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy and is commonly used to treat different kinds of cancers, as well as other conditions.

A six-judge bench dismissed her bail appeal unanimously, said the chief justice before reading out the one sentence order.

He said that the leave-to-appeal petition was dismissed with the observation that the medial board was directed to immediately start the biological treatment as the board recommended with her consent.

Earlier in the morning Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University’s vice-chancellor submitted at the hearing three reports about Khaleda Zia’s health prepared at different times.

The health reports were prepared following directives issued by the Appellate Division on November 28.

But the BSMMU vice chancellor failed to submit the reports at the last hearing on December 5.

Khaleda’s lawyers alleged that the VC did not file the report on time with the malafide intention to change her health report. 

After the two and half-hour hearing amid pin-drop silence, from 10am to 1.15 pm, with 30minutes’ break during the recess, the chief justice said that a short break of five minutes was needed to know the opinions about each judge about her bail appeal.

Lawyers of both the sides took out separate processions on the SC Bar Association compound.

A lawyer who supports Khaleda Zia was detained by the police at the SC police outpost for a few hours when he was entering the court premises and later he was released. 

The hearing was held amid tight security with new CCTV cameras installed on four corners of the chief justice’s courtroom.

As lawyers not enrolled with the Appellate Division were not allowed to enter into the courtroom, they held protests on the corridors.

The chief justice said that not only he but all the Appellate Division judges took the decision to  impose the restrictions as chaos marked the previous hearing.

But the deputy and assistant attorneys general not enrolled with the Appellate Division as well as pro ruling Awami League lawyers had occupied the seats behind the attorney general, defence lawyers found not seat for themselves.

As the matter was pointed out by Khaleda’s senior counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain, the chief allowed 30 lawyers from each side to remain and asked the rest to leave but no pro-AL lawyers or the DAGs and the AAGs left the courtroom.

Khandker Mahbub said that he himself had to carry the case files as his juniors were not allowed to enter into the courtroom.

Khaleda’s chief lawyer Zainul Abedin appealed to grant her bail saying that she needed advancement treatment abroad to save her life since was crippled according to the medial reports.   

Zainul submitted that her health was deteriorating as she was not getting proper treatment at the BSMMU though she was shifted there on October 6, 2018 for better treatment.

He submitted that she had walked on her own  to the BSMMU  but now she was unable to leave bed without other’s support, she had no appetite and her fingers and toes became deformed, needing advanced treatment abroad.

Zainul submitted that she should be granted bail as the medical board recommended advanced treatment of crippling disabilities.

He also submitted that the convention required granting bail to her considering her age and  sickness.

He pointed out that under the convention there was instances of granting bails to life term servers in murder cases.

Her bail appeal was vehemently opposed by attorney general Mahbubey and Anti-Corruption Commission’s retainer Khurshid Alam Khan.

The attorney general submitted that her health condition did not deteriorate since she was given VIP cabin with standby private female attendant and nurses staying at a nearby room.

The attorney general also submitted that nowhere in the three medical reports stated that her treatment was not possible in the country.

He submitted that a foreign medicine recommended by the medical board was now available in the country.                 

According to the latest report prepared on December 11 by a seven-member medical board led by professor Shamim Ahamed on the Appellate Division’s order Khaleda Zia is  suffering from diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cough variant asthma and rheumatoid arthritis with secondary sjogren syndrome with bilateral total knee replacement due to advanced knee osteoarthritis.

According to the report, her blood pressure and asthma are under control, her diabetics has improved though the targets have not been achieved.

About her rheumatoid arthritis, the report said   that the ‘Board considered Tocilijumab a biologic treatment, for her as per latest international recommendations. Till now a positive decision in this regard has not been obtained from the patient.’

According to the previous   medical report prepared on October 12 by the medical board of BSMMU professors Syed Atiqul Haq, Md Nazrul Islam and Minhaj Rahim Chowdhury which says, ‘The quality of treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has remained poor. She needs advanced therapies. She has been adequately informed on the prospects, costs, and limitation including adverse effects of the advanced therapies.’

‘As a result of combined active disease and accompanied damage she is, at present a crippled state and largely dependent on assistance for her day to day activities,’  says the report.

It says, ‘The medical board has offered her advanced therapy in the form of biologics following the recommendation of international bodies and is ready to start it remaining full aware of prevailing limitation. The board is open to accept suggestions of other qualified reheumatologist.’

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