Khaleda seeks bail again

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:52, Feb 18,2020


Khaleda Zia

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia on Tuesday filed a fresh application with the High Court seeking bail in the Zia Charitable Trust case for ‘advanced medical treatment abroad like in the United Kingdom’.

The new bail petition was made amidst conflicting political statements by leaders of the ruling Awami League and the BNP over her release.

AL general secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday and Tuesday had claimed that BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir phoned him and requested him for Khaleda’s release.

But the government, he had mentioned, was yet to get any application from Khaleda seeking release on parole.

BNP secretary general, however, on Tuesday said  that he had had no talks with the AL general secretary over Khaleda’s release on parole and that she herself or her family would decide whether or not to seek parole for her.

The former prime minister’s lawyers told reporters on Tuesday that they would request the bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice AKM Zahirul Huq today to expeditiously hear the application.

They said that ‘she is seriously sick and her health has been deteriorating day by day’ since the Appellate Division on December 12, 2019 upheld the High Court order that rejected her bail application on July 31, 2019.

‘She needs to receive advanced biologic treatment abroad like in the UK and as such she should be released on bail on the grounds of sickness,’ her lawyers submitted in the bail application.

There were many examples of shifting politicians abroad from the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital for advancement treatment, said her lawyers in the bail application.

The mention of examples was made in response to the Appellate Division’s observation that the BSMMU hospital was a ‘better’ hospital for providing advanced biologic treatment to her. 

The Appellate Division had upheld HC’s rejection of her bail application also stating that she did not mention in that petition that she would go aboard for advanced medical treatment.

The Appellate Division, however, had directed the BSMMU facility to provide her advanced biologic treatment immediately with her consent.

Biological or biologic therapy is designed to stimulate or restore the ability of the body’s immune (natural internal defence) system to fight infection and disease.

Biological therapy is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy and is commonly used to treat different kinds of cancer, and other conditions.

Her new bail application annexed newspaper clippings in which Khaleda’s sister Selima Islam after visiting her at the hospital on February 11 had demanded her unconditional release on humanitarian grounds so that she could get advanced treatment abroad.

Selima had also said that the family would appeal to the government for her unconditional release.

‘Her health condition is so bad that it cannot be said what will happen if she is not given advanced treatment right now,’ she had said.

She had also said that the treatment at the BSMMU hospital was not working and the doctors were not telling the truth.

Khaleda is suffering from breathing problem and is now almost unable to speak, she had added.

Selima had further said,‘She cannot even stand or sit for five minutes. Her left hand has bended and now the right one has started bending.’

‘She cannot properly eat, and if she eats, she throws up. She is groaning in pain. She is suffering from fever,’ she had gone on. 

Her fresh bail prayer was filed amid media statements by several ministers that the government would consider any application from the BNP or Khaleda’s family seeking her release on parole.

On Sunday law minister Anisul Huq said that the specific legal procedure had to be followed for Khaleda Zia’s release on either bail or parole as she had been in jail because of her conviction in a graft case.

The same day Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said that the government would consider any application from the BNP or Khaleda’s family seeking her release on parole.

He also claimed that the BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir phoned him to discuss the matter of Khaleda’s release and there was no reason to play hide and seek.

On Tuesday Mirza Fakhrul said that he had no talks with Obaidul Quader over Khaleda Zia’s release on parole.

The family of Khaleda Zia would decide on seeking parole for her, he added.

‘Earlier, I clearly told you to ask him (Obaidul) about the issue. We did not talk about Khaleda Zia’s parole. Have our party said anything about it?’ Fakhrul said.

He said that Khaleda was seriously ill and any ‘accident’ might take place anytime. ‘That is why we said that the government was pushing Khaleda Zia towards death in a planned way.’

Khaleda has been in jail since February 8, 2018, the day when she was sentenced by a special court in Dhaka in a graft case which BNP terms as false and fabricated.

Khaleda was shifted to the BSMMU hospital on April 1, 2019 and has been undergoing treatment there since.

On December 11, the hospital authorities submitted a report on Khaleda’s health to the Supreme Court.

In the report they said, ‘As a result of combined active diseases and accompanying damage she is, at present, at a crippled state and largely dependent on assistance for her day-to-day activities.’

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