BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has lashed out at the government for keeping Khaleda Zia in a shabby jail cell he says is infected with rats, bedbugs, cockroaches and even poisonous pests like scorpions that are making her sick.
The government’s imprisonment of the opposition leader in the derelict jail in Old Dhaka is not ‘civil’ and she deserves the treatment afforded to her as a political prisoner, he said.
Khaleda has been jailed at the old prison on Nazimuddin Road for the last four months since she was sentenced in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
All other inmates from the 200-year-old jail house have been shifted to new jail in Keraniganj, leaving Khaleda Zia as the sole prisoner there.
The jail superintendent’s room was renovated and the building was declared a ‘special jail’ following the verdict announced on Feb 8. At first Khaleda was kept there but was later shifted to another room on first floor which used to be a ‘day care centre.’
Meeting her in the jail house, BNP leaders said their chairperson is falling sick due to the damp and dirty conditions there.
Their concerns grew when Khaleda fainted for some time on Jun 5. They have repeatedly demanded that the BNP chief be admitted to Dhaka’s United Hospital for treatment without delay.
Mirza Fakhrul reiterated the demand in a press meet on Sunday.
“The Dhaka Central Jail is the worst. It houses such large rats. You’ll be surprised to know that a cat caught a mouse in the room that madam resides,” he said.
“Being unaccustomed to such surroundings, she has suffered much mental distress. There are also cockroaches and bedbugs and even poisonous scorpions!”
“How can you treat a top leader of the country in this way? No civilized people do this! She is a political prisoner, please treat her as one,” said Mirza Fakhrul.
“The prime minister is always portraying Bangladesh as a ‘well established’ democracy, but she has gradually ruined election system, judiciary and administration to uphold her type of democracy,” said Mirza Fakhrul criticising the prime minister’s speech on Eid day.
“Her kind of democracy is that only she and her party are allowed. No one else should be there,” he said.
This kind of democracy will never survive, he added.