High Court stays sedition case against Khaleda Zia for 6 months
Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-03-29 20:32:06.0 BdST Updated: 2017-03-29 20:32:06.0 BdST
The High Court has suspended proceedings of a sedition case against BNP chief Khaleda Zia for six months.
In January last year, the case started against the chairperson of BNP, the arch-rival of the ruling party, for ‘expressing doubt’ over the number of freedom fighters who lost their lives during the 1971 Liberation War.
Khaleda filed a petition to the High Court on Jan 5 this year challenging the legality of the case.
Justice Miftah Uddin Choudhury and Justice ANM Bashir Ullah heard her petition on Wednesday and passed the order.
It also issued a rule asking why the trial court’s decision to take Khaleda’s plea into cognisance should not be declared illegal.
The respondents will have to come up with explanations within four weeks.
“This case cannot continue because a statement on the number of martyred freedom fighters cannot be an act of sedition,” Khaleda’s lawyer Barrister AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon told reporters. “Moreover, it was initiated by an individual, not the state.”
While addressing a seminar at Dhaka’s Engineers Institution in 2015, Khaleda said: “There is a debate on the actual number of martyrs. Different books carry different figures.”
Supreme Court lawyer Mumtaz Uddin Ahmed Mehedi served a legal notice on Khaleda asking her to withdraw her statement.
Getting no response, he pleaded to the home ministry to start a sedition case against Khaleda under the Penal Code.
The ministry endorsed his plea on Jan 21 last year, clearing the way for Mehedi to start the case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Dhaka the next day.
The court summoned Khaleda to appear before it on Mar 3. Khaleda appeared before the court and secured bail on Apr 10.
The case was transferred to the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Kamrul Hossain Molla.
Khaleda secured bail from the court on Aug 10 last year, the same day when the court took the charges against her into cognisance.
She challenged the legality of the order on Jan 5 on which the High Court issued the rule on Wednesday.
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