On the occasion of International Women's Day yesterday, the High Court granted bail to a 45-year-old woman from Cox's Bazar, who has been in jail for the last 20 years in an abduction case.
The court also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain why the trial court verdict that convicted and sentenced Monwara Begum alias Khurshida Begum alias Motahera Begum to life imprisonment should not be scrapped.
The bail of Monwara, who is now in Cox's Bazar jail, will continue till disposal of the rule, according to the HC order.
Besides, the HC asked the deputy commissioner and social services officer in Cox's Bazar district to socially rehabilitate Monwara and provide her with necessary facilities, if her relatives are not found after her release from jail.
The court also ordered the officials concerned to send the copy of its order to the secretaries to the prime minister's office and the ministries of law and social welfare.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim gave the order after hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Fazlur Rahman, seeking bail for her.
The court granted the bail to her as yesterday was International Women's Day and she (Monwara) has been suffering in jail for a long time.
Monwara Begum, wife of one Ismail of Purba Dhechua and daughter of Kadir Hochon in Ramu upazila of Cox's Bazar, was found guilty by a Cox's Bazar court and sentenced to life-term imprisonment in 2001 in a kidnapping case.
The case was filed after an eight-year-old daughter of one Abul Kalam of Jhilongja area under Cox's Bazar Sadar upazila was abducted by Monwara, on June 13, 1998.
Law enforcers arrested Monwara and rescued the child from near Karnafuli bridge area on June 17 the same year.
Fazlur Rahman's lawyer Advocate Md Shafiullah told The Daily Star that the Cox's Bazar court has convicted and sentenced Monwara to life imprisonment on charge of kidnapping the girl in a bid to traffic her.
Monwara could not move an appeal and engage a lawyer against the verdict and for her release due to a financial crisis, he said.
Advocate Shafiullah also said there is no legal bar to Monwara's release from jail following the HC order.
The lawyer could not specifically say whether she has any near and dear one. The bail petition was filed on her behalf around three months back, he added.