Suspension of Sentence: Khaleda to seek extension on health grounds

With Khaleda Zia’s suspension of jail sentence ending in less than a month, her family members and lawyers are preparing documents to seek extension of the government order through which she was released for six months.

They are also trying to take the BNP chairperson abroad for treatment as her health did not improve since her release on March 25, they said, adding that she could not get “proper treatment” because she had to stay home amid the pandemic.

“The government released her on bail through an executive order and her family members will now apply to the government for an extension [of the order]. She needs the extension as her treatment could not begin due to the pandemic,” Khaleda’s lawyer Advocate Zainul Abedin told The Daily Star a couple of days ago.

Meanwhile, BNP Vice-chairman AZM Zahid Hossain said Dr Zubaida Rahman, wife of Khaleda’s son Tarique Rahman, was overseeing the BNP chief’s treatment from London.

The party, however, was yet to make any decision on seeking the extension order.

“We are yet to take any decision in this regard. We will take the decision soon,” Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of the party, told The Daily Star.

He also said the party chief’s physical condition did not improve as she had to stay indoors due to the pandemic.

Asked whether the party would seek Khaleda’s permanent bail or an extension of her bail order, he said, “It has not been fixed yet.”

Khaleda was released from prison on March 25 after she served in jail for 776 days.

The government through an executive order released her for six months on conditions that she will stay at her home in the capital and not leave the country. It suspended her sentence as per section 401 of Criminal Code of Procedure on “humanitarian grounds”.

The 75-year-old former prime minister is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and ophthalmological and dental ailments, said party sources.

“Her physical condition is same as when she walked out of prison on March 25. As better treatment is not available in the country amid the pandemic, we want to take her abroad,” said Zahid.

“In case Khaleda does not get better treatment, she might become crippled,” he said.

This correspondent reached Khaleda’s family members for comments, but none of them agreed to say anything except that they would soon file for the extension of the government order that released her. 


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