AG: Khaleda won’t be able to contest election
The High Court extended Khaleda Zia’s jail term to 10 years, from five years, in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will not be able to contest in the upcoming national election unless her verdict is scrapped, the attorney general has said.
He made the remarks shortly after the High Court extended Khaleda Zia’s jail term to 10 years, from five years, in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on Tuesday.
“Khaleda Zia cannot participate in the election until such time as her verdict is scrapped,” Mahbubey Alam told reporters.
She cannot run for election—even if her appeal remains pending or the operation of her sentence is suspended, he said.
The attorney general said if the defence wants to appeal against the verdict, they will have to appeal within a month.
On the extension of the jail term, he said that since Khaleda Zia is the key convict in the case her sentence cannot be less than that of the other convicts.
Khaleda’s son – Tarique Rahman – and four others were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
During the verdict Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Khurshid Alam were present. However, none of Khaleda’s lawyers were present in the court.
What did the ACC lawyer say?
Khurshid Alam said they appealed to enhance the BNP chief’s jail term because she is the key suspect in the case.
“The High Court granted our appeal. So, now all the convicts havethe same punishment—10 years in jail,” he told reporters after the verdict.
Trial court’s verdict
On February 8, a Dhaka special court sentenced Khaleda to five years in jail for the corruption case. Tarique and four others – Kamal Uddin Siddique, Salimul, Sharfuddin, and Ziaur Rahman’s nephew Mominur Rahman – were sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.
Khaleda has been imprisoned at the former central jail since then. She is currently undergoing medical treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case with Ramna police station on July 3, 2008, accusing Khaleda, Tarique, and the four others, for misappropriating over Tk2.10 crore that came in as grants from a foreign bank and was intended for orphans.
Status of the other accused
Of the other convicts – Salimul Haque and Sharfuddin – are behind bars.
However, three others— Tarique, Mominur Rahman and Kamal Uddin Siddique have been absconding.
Other case against Khaleda Zia
On Monday, Dhaka Special Judge Court 5 sentenced the BNP chairperson to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case in connection with the embezzlement of around Tk3.15 crore.
The case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission with the Tejgaon police station in August 2011; accusing Khaleda and others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.