Law ministry for extending Khaleda’s jail term suspension

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia
File photo

The law ministry has given its opinion in favour of extending the period of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's jail sentences suspension by another six months on the existing conditions, reports UNB.

"The law ministry has given its opinion for extending Khaleda's jail term suspension period by another six months on the existing conditions. Already the opinion of the ministry has been sent to the home ministry, said law minister Anisul Huq while talking to reporters at the secretariat.

The law ministry on Thursday received a petition seeking another extended suspension of Khaleda Zia's jail term.

The BNP chairperson's younger brother Shamim Eskandar submitted a fresh application recently to the home ministry seeking a further extension to the suspended jail term of his sister as her release period will end on 24 March next.

In the application, he also urged the government to relax the conditions of the BNP chief's release and allow her to go abroad for treatment.

In the previous applications, Khaleda's family also sought permission to send her abroad for medical treatment.

This is the seventh time the BNP chief's family sought an extension to her suspended jail term.

The government accepted all the previous applications but did not give Khaleda permission to go abroad for treatment.

On various occasions, the law minister explained that there was no legal scope to relax the conditions given by the government during Khaleda's first release through an executive order.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government temporarily freed Khaleda Zia from jail through an executive order by suspending her sentence on 25 March, 2020, with conditions that she would stay at her Gulshan house and would not leave the country. Since then, her release term has been extended every six months following the family's plea.

The government has so far extended the convicted former prime minister's conditional release six times, with the last extension on 18 September, 2022.

Khaleda was sent to the Old Dhaka Central Jail as a lower court sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on 8 February, 2018. Later, she was found guilty and convicted in another corruption case the same year.

The 77-year-old BNP chief has been staying at her Gulshan residence since her release in 2020. She also received treatment at Evercare Hospital in the capital six times since she was infected with Covid-19 in April 2021.

As per her physicians, Khaleda has been suffering from various ailments, including liver cirrhosis, arthritis, diabetes, kidney, lung, heart, and eye problems.

They have long been saying that the BNP chief needs to receive treatment in any advanced medical centre abroad for her critical diseases, including liver cirrhosis.