Khaleda’s election fate depends on SC, EC: Law minister

Staff Correspondent | Update:

KhaledaLaw minister Anisul Huq on Thursday said it is the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and the election commission that would decide if BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia would be able to join the next general elections.

A special judge court earlier in the day convicted former prime minister Khaleda, her son Tarique Rahman and four others in the Zia Orphanage Trust case.

The makeshift court has sentenced Khaleda to five years and the others to ten years in jail.

Asked if Khaleda would be able to join the next polls slated be to held in the year end, the law minister quoted an article of the constitution and two Supreme Court verdicts.

The law minister was talking to reporters at his secretariat office in the capital.      

According to Article 66(2), a person shall be disqualified for election as, or for being, a member of parliament who has been, on conviction for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.

“But there are two verdicts of High Court and Supreme Court in this regard. One of the verdicts said the verdict will not be considered a complete one unless the appeal against the verdict is disposed of too and thus the convicted person will be able to take part in the elections,” said Anisul Huq.

“Again, there is another verdict against this verdict [which allows convicts joining the polls]. Now it depends on what decision the Appellate Division will take regarding her case and also depends on what decision the independent election commission will take,” he added.

The law minister said Khaleda can file an appeal against the verdict and seek bail only after the certified copy of the verdict is ready.

He said it may take some time to prepare the certified copy of the 632-page verdict.   

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