BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was finally set free from prison on humanitarian grounds on Wednesday after she repeatedly lost her legal battle for securing bail in a corruption case.
Khaleda came out of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) around 4:14pm after her release order reached the jail authorities.She went straight to her Gulshan residence on her release after serving 25 months’ imprisonment.
Khaleda’s sister Selima Rahman, brother Shamim Eskander and his wife Kaniz Fatema received the BNP chairperson in the hospital where she was undergoing treatment.
BNP senior leaders, including secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, were also present during her reception.
After her release, Khaleda started for her Firoza residence around 4:20pm when hundreds of party leaders and activists escorted her private car.
The BNP chairperson was serving 17 years’ imprisonment in two graft cases. She landed in jail since she was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8, 2018.
On October 30, 2018, the High Court raised her punishment to 10 years after dismissing her appeal. The same special court jailed Khaleda and three others for seven years in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case on October 29, 2018. The HC rejected her bail petition three times and the Supreme Court once in this case.Later, Khaleda Zia was treated at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University since April 1 last.
Finally, the government passed the executive order for her release on two conditions that she will receive treatment staying in her residence and will not be able to leave the country. On Tuesday, Law Minister Anisul Huq said that the sentences of Khaleda Zia have been suspended as per section 401 of the Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPcC).
Khaleda’s release came as her family recently submitted an application to the government, seeking an executive order to release 75-year-old Khaleda Zia for her treatment in London.
Sources said Dhaka Central Jail authorities freed Khaleda Zia from BSMMU after the prisons directorate received her release order from the home ministry.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said Khaleda’s personal doctors will sit and take a decision about her treatment.
He also said it depends on Khaleda’s decision whether she will receive treatment in her residence or any hospital.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will stay under her younger brother Shamim Eskander’s custody over a period of six months.
BNP leaders as well as her family said they are feeling happy over the release of their party chief.
Hundreds of BNP leaders and activists gathered in front of the BSMMU during their party chief’s release amid coronavirus risks.