Khaleda Zia completes 2 years in prison

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Dhaka, Feb 8 (IANS) As former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on Saturday completed two years in prison, members and activists of her Bangladesh National Party (BNP) were losing hope of her release through legal and political means, a media report said on Saturday.

Zia, who was jailed for 17 years on February 8, 2018 in two corruption cases, has been receiving treatment at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University since last April.

The two graft cases involve the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust.

The top leaders, however, are saying that they will continue their efforts to get the 73-year-old BNP supremo out of prison, The Daily Star newspaper said in a report.

“We tried the legal and political means. Since the government kept her in jail out of vengeance, we could not get her released. But we believe that we will succeed in the coming days,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told newspaper on Friday.

“Since the government is interfering in the legal process, she is not getting bail. But we will eventually wage a movement to release her,” Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, the party’s standing committee member, told The Daily Mirror.

“Now the release of Khaleda is not just the BNP’s cause but also that of the citizens,” he said.

But many of the party leaders have saud that they do not have the strength to take to the streets in such large numbers that it would force the government to release Khaleda.

Several BNP leaders said the joint leadership of acting chairman and Khaleda’s son Tarique Rahman and the standing committee members was struggling to find a way to free the former premier.

Many party men now believe that staging widespread protests is the only means of releasing Khaleda, they said.

However, many BNP high-ups fear that the party’s existence would be at stake if such a movement failed.

Besides the two graft cases, Khaleda is accused in 31 more cases on charges related to violent protests, defamation, sedition, and celebrating a fake birthday, reports bdnews24.

In politics for 38 years, it is not Khaleda’s first time in prison.

During the 2007 emergency rule started by a military backed caretaker government, the BNP chief spent one year and seven days in a sub-jail set up in a house in Parliament complex.

She was put under house arrest in 1983, 1984 and 1987.

–IANS

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