Bangladesh opposition leader moved to jail


By SM Najmus Sakib

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – Bangladeshi opposition leader Khaleda Zia, who is seeking treatment at a hospital, was produced before a court on Thursday and sent to jail — a move her party called inhumane.

Zia, 73, widow of assassinated former President Ziaur Rahman, faces dozens of charges related to violence and corruption that her lawyers insist are politically motivated.

She was taken to jail in capital Dhaka directly from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and produced before a special makeshift court inside the jail premises for hearing of a graft case

Zia has been serving jail time for the last eight months and was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 6 following a High Court order.

Hospital director Brig. Gen. Abdullah al Harun said Zia was released after the medical board issued a discharge certificate, local Daily Star reported.

The court adjourned the hearing till Nov. 14.

Speaking to reporters, her lawyer Taherul Islam Touhid said Zia appeared before the court despite being ill.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary-General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters at the prison gate that their leader was taken to jail illegally.

In a news conference, party official Nazrul Islam Khan said their leader needs further medical care as doctors described her physical condition as worsening. If the treatment is interrupted, she could suffer paralysis, he added.

In late October, the Bangladesh High Court scaled up Zia's jail term from five to 10 years in a graft case.

In a separate case, Zia and three other party workers were sentenced to seven years in jail.