BNP on Friday trashed the Prime Minister’s remark that Khaleda Zia’s trial is being held in an open court inside Old Dhaka Central Jail, claiming that her assertion is not correct.
“The Constitution says the trial must be held in public and in an open court. But they’re holding the trial in a small room (inside the jail) where there’s a sitting arrangement for only 10 lawyers. It’s not an open court,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Fakhrul came up with the comment while speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
While addressing a meeting of Awami League Central Working Committee on Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda’s trial is being held in an open court where people have free access. “How could it be a camera trial when the door of the court remains open?” Hasina said.
She also said the makeshift court was set up in the central jail to try BNP chief Khaleda Zia as BNP leaders were talking about her security. “The trial of Colonel Taher was held in a court in jail during the Ziaur Rahman's regime.”
Refuting the Prime Minister’s comment, Fakhrul said Col Taher’s trial was held during martial law not under a civil administration. “So, it can’t be compared with that trial.”
About Sheikh Hasina’s comment that the constitution or the existing laws do not permit convicted Khaleda to take her domestic help Fatema with her in the jail, the BNP leader said she has been staying in jail with the court’s order. “We didn’t keep her in jail.”
He questioned as to why the government is keeping Khaleda in jail with various tricks even after she got bail from the apex court in the case she was convicted. “Why do you fear her? Free her from jail and hold a fair election. You don’t want to do it as you know people are not with you.”
Speaking at the press conference, party standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said jail is not an open place and people have no access to it. “The so-called court was set up inside the jail. How can it be an open court where people don’t have any access? The Prime Minister made such wrong remarks to confuse people.”
He said Col Taher’s trial was held when Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem enforced martial law and the Constitution was kept suspended at that time.
“Taher’s trial was held during Ziaur Rahman for treason. But Khaleda Zia’s trial is being held now in a corruption case which is politically motivated one,” the BNP leader observed.
Mosharraf said the makeshift court was set up in the jail as part of the government’s plot to keep Khaleda Zia out of the next general election race.