Family applies for extension of BNP chief Khaleda's stay out of jail

Khaleda was released from prison in March 2020 by executive order and the government has since extended the release five times

Published : 9 March 2023, 08:52 AM
Updated : 9 March 2023, 08:52 AM

The family of BNP chief Khaleda Zia has applied to the government for an extension of her suspended jail sentence.

The home ministry has since forwarded the application to the law ministry for its opinion on the matter, according to Law Minister Anisul Huq.

"I've come to know that Khaleda Zia's brother has filed an application with the Ministry of Home Affairs to extend the period of her conditional release. The Law and Justice Department of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has the file," Huq told reporters at the Secretariat on Thursday.

"I haven't seen it [the application] yet. After issuing our opinion, it will be sent back to the Ministry of Home Affairs."

The minister, however, dismissed reports of an extension of Khaleda's release and 'conditional approval' for her to travel abroad as "absolute falsehoods".

On whether the government is considering granting her conditional permission to go abroad, Huq said, "I have not received the application yet. I will deal with it when I have it.”

Upon being told that Khaleda's family is seeking permission to take her abroad and absolute bail for her, Huq said, "The jurisdiction to grant bail belongs to the court, not the government."

A special trial court in Dhaka sentenced Khaleda to five years imprisonment in February 2017 in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

A bench in the Bangladesh High Court division increased the jail time to 10 years on Oct 30 of that year after rejecting an appeal.

The same trial court had, a day prior, sentenced her to seven years imprisonment in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.

After that, the septuagenarian served her sentence at the Old Central Jail in Dhaka until the government decided to suspend her jail time on medical grounds amid the pandemic.

Khaleda was released from prison on Mar 25, 2020 by executive order and the government has already conditionally extended her time out of jail on five occasions, most recently in September 2022.

The conditions were that the ailing BNP chief would continue receiving medical treatment at her home in Dhaka and would not be allowed to travel abroad.

Huq hinted that the conditions of her release would likely stay unchanged if the family's application is granted.

“The last time it [Khaleda's suspended sentence] was extended, these were the conditions. You will know the outcome in a few days.

"I think the conditions will remain as they are."