23 Feb 2020
The High Court will hear a bail appeal from BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case on Sunday.
The hearing was scheduled to start at 2pm, as the High Court bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice KM Zahirul Hoque set the time responding to the state counsels’ appeal for time.
Barrister Moudud Ahmed and AJ Mohammed Ali, part of Khaleda’s legal team, were present in the court.
The authorities beefed up security in the Supreme Court premises over the hearing of Khaleda’s bail plea. All lawyers and petitioners had to go through a security-check to enter the court premises.
An appeal was filed with the court on Sunday seeking an order for the vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University to provide an updated report on Khaleda’s health, said Sagir Hossain Leon, one of her lawyers.“She cannot move without the help of others. She cannot consume food or medicines without the help of others,” Khaleda’s lawyer said in the appeal.
“On Feb 11, Khaleda’s sister went to meet her in the hospital. Khaleda Zia needs advance treatment abroad, or else she wouldn’t recover, her sister later said in a press briefing. The media reported it on Feb 12.”
“Also, the petitioner appealed for fresh bail on humanitarian grounds and upholding the need of better treatment. Therefore, an updated report on her health is really needed,” said the lawyer.
On Feb 18, Khaleda’s legal counsels appealed to the High Court for her bail seeking better treatment for her. The court set the hearing date after Khaleda’s lawyer Khondokar Mahbub Hossain presented the petition in court the next day.
Khaleda has been in prison since February 2018, serving a total of 17 years in jail in the Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust corruption cases.
The former prime minister was later transferred to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital on Apr 1 last year for treatment under the supervision of jail authorities.Khaleda is seeking bail on humanitarian grounds in light of her health and age as she is not receiving advanced medical care at BSMMUH, according to the petition.
The BNP chairperson’s legal team had previously appealed to the High Court for her bail after she was sentenced to seven years in jail in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
The High Court turned down the bail appeal on Jul 31 last year, taking into account the gravity of the crime and the highest punishment for the crime.
Khaleda’s lawyers subsequently appealed against the decision to the top court but the Appellate Division too denied her bail.
The court, however, ordered the authorities to take swift measures to ensure that Khaleda gets ‘advanced treatment’ in line with the recommendations of her medical board at BSMMU.