Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University’s (BSMMU) Director is finding it ‘very difficult’ to explain Ghulam Azam’s continued stay in its hospital despite his being in ‘good condition’.
The prisons authorities say they go by the medical advice for the 91-year old leader who was arrested more than a year and a half ago on war crimes charges.
The former Jamaat-e-Islami supremo has been convicted of conspiracy, planning, incitement, abetting, and murder during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971 and a special tribunal sentenced him to 90 years in jail on Monday.
The tribunal said he was spared the death penalty despite deserving it due to his age and failing health.
The Jamaat guru has enjoyed the facilities normally meant for patients in Bangladesh’s lone medical university since his arrest.
He continues to enjoy them even after Monday’s verdict for a ‘life in prison’.
The hospital Director Abdul Majid Bhuiyan told bdnews24.com that Ghulam Azam’s condition ‘has not changed’ after the verdict.
“He is fasting, offering regular prayers. There is no change in him,” he said, “even after taking food he would clean the utensils with his own hands…does not allow anybody (to clean)”.
Though Azam was produced before court in a wheel chair, the Director said the Jamaat guru goes out for a walk every day and moves around within his two-bedded prison cabin room with proper facilities like fans and attached bathroom.
The air-cooler of the room is, however, out of order.
He is ‘basically suffering from old age complications’, the Director said.
The Inspector General (Prisons) Md Ashraful Islam Khan, however, told bdnews24.com that they were strictly following medical advice on Ghulam Azam.
“We are treating him according to our rules. We do everything following doctors’ instructions,” he said.
Professor of Medicine ABM Abdullah who coordinates Azam’s treatment in the hospital told bdnews24.com that he was mentally stable even after the verdict.
“He has no major disease, but he is physically weak,” he said and added that they were prescribing him medicines for high blood pressure, heart and osteoarthritis.
“He has many old age complicacies like poor vision, he is hard of hearing. He is also given physiotherapy for his joint pains,” Prof Abdullah said. Different specialists attend to him regularly.
Asked whether he needs to stay in BSMMU, Prof Abdullah said this was a decision that has to be taken by the whole medical team. “I alone cannot decide it”.
The hospital’s Deputy Director Mokhlesuzzaman also told bdnews24.com that since when they received Azam in their hospital, “he has not been suffering from any major disease”.
“He is physically stable. Doctors are only taking care of his old age complications”.
He, however, said they had not received any instructions from the prisons authority.
“But personally I believe he should not be given the same facility he enjoyed before conviction”.
Before fasting, the hospital would provide Azam five meals that include his favourite small fish curry.
Now he breaks his fast with fruits particularly dates and juice supplied by the hospital.
They also serve him food during dinner and sehri.
Source: Bd news24