Khaleda Zia released

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 16:14, Mar 25, 2020 | Updated : 17:58, Mar 25, 2020

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is seen after she comes out of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Wednesday (Mar 25, 2020). Photo/Nashirul Islam

BNP chief Khaleda has been released after the government suspended her sentences on the graft cases for six months.

The former premier was released on Wednesday (Mar 25) after 4 pm from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital where she had been undergoing treatment as a prisoner since April 2019.

Her family members along with BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and senior party leaders were present during her release.

She was released after 2 years and two months in prison under the custody of her younger brother Shamim Iskander.

She has been taken to her Dhaka home ‘Feroza’ which she isn’t allowed to leave as part of the condition for her release.

The hospital premises were flooded with BNP activists who turned up to see Khaleda despite the party leaders’ orders.

Mirza Fakhrul said that decisions regarding her treatment will be finalized after doctors see her and running tests.

Similar to the hospital compound, activists crowded her home which the party's National Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas heavily criticised.

He said that they had expressly forbidden crowding the party chief's house given the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We even told the doctors to not come. That they do not crowd [the area]," he said.

Khaleda, 74, who has twice been prime minister, has been in jail since she was convicted in a graft case in February 2018.

Law Minister Anisul Huq announced on Tuesday (Mar 25), that the government has decided to release the former premier from prison suspending her sentence for six months under section 401 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

However, two conditions-----that she does not leave the country and she receives treatment at home---were imposed.

According to home minister Asaduzzman Khan, the recommendation to release the BNP chief was sent to the law minister for vetting after which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave necessary instruction for her release.

In 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against Khaleda and others accusing them of embezzling donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust.

A special court sentenced her to five years in prison on Feb 8, 2018, which the High Court later enhanced to 10 years.

She was also sentenced to seven years for her involvement Zia Charitable Trust case on Oct 28, 2018. The BNP however, termed the cases as fictitious meant to keep her out of politics.

Khaleda was serving her time at the old jail house in Nazimuddin Road where she was the sole inmate. Her health has been deteriorating for months and she was moved to BSMMU in April last year.