Stay on Khaleda's Bail: Ruckus at first day's hearing
Yesterday's Supreme Court hearing on the two appeals against Khaleda Zia's HC bail order in a corruption case witnessed commotion from a section of lawyers.
The court fixed today for resuming the hearing.
At the courtroom, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam was placing arguments in favour of a government appeal against the HC order.
He told the apex court that the trial of the BNP chairperson, now serving her five-year jail term in the Zia Orphanage Trust Corruption case, was held in the fairest manner.
At this, the lawyers shouted “no, no, no”.
The attorney general then said Khaleda had been suffering from different diseases and therefore she needed to take rest. He said Khaleda was taking rest in jail custody.
At one stage, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain was forced to say that his court could not continue the hearing if the commotion did not stop.
The four-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC, headed by the chief justice, concluded hearing for the day.
In another development, a Narail court yesterday rejected the bail petition filed by Khaleda in a case filed for her “derogatory remarks” on the number of Liberation War martyrs, reports UNB.
The government and the ACC had filed two petitions with the court against the HC bail order in the Zia Orphanage Trust Corruption case.
Yesterday, both Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan and the AG completed placing their arguments, praying to the SC to cancel the HC bail order.
Khaleda's lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali began placing his arguments in support of the bail order. He is expected to continue today.
During yesterday's hearing, Khurshid said Khaleda could not be granted bail in the case due to the gravity of the offences she had committed in dealing with the Zia Orphanage Trust.
Also, Khaleda had “misused” her bail granted by a lower court during the case's trial as she went abroad without taking permission from the court, he argued.
The lawyer said Khaleda also did not submit any medical documents in support of her claim that she was sick.
He claimed that the HC committed “serious illegality” by granting Khaleda bail without taking those issues into consideration.
The AG told the court that Khaleda committed the offences, cited in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case documents, as a head of the government and therefore, she could not be given bail in the case.
He said the HC could grant bail to a convict if it found that the hearing on the appeal against the conviction would take time.
But the paper book on the appeal filed by Khaleda with the HC against the lower court conviction had already been prepared and the HC could now hear the appeal itself, he said.
If the HC acquitted Khaleda after hearing the appeal, there would be no objection, he said, adding that the SC did not need to grant the bail now.
When the attorney general said the trial of Khaleda in the case was held in the fairest manner, Zainul Abedin, a BNP leader and a lawyer for the BNP chief, told the court that the attorney general as the top law officer of the state could not make such an argument.
At one point, the group of lawyers, present in the courtroom, started shouting.
The chief justice then asked the lawyers to allow the attorney general to complete his arguments.
Advocate AJ Mohammad Ali then placed his argument in favour of the HC order that granted the BNP chief bail.
He said the attorney general had no scope to place arguments under the Anti-Corruption Commission Act on the appeal against the HC order.
In reply, the AG said he had the right to place arguments as the government was a party in the case.
Mohammad Ali said the BNP chairperson had been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment so that she could not contest the parliamentary elections.
It has been shown to the whole world that Khaleda is a corrupt person and she has been punished for graft. Such things have been done to remove her from politics, he said.
Mohammad Ali said the Supreme Court of foreign countries does not interfere in High Court orders.
The defence lawyer told the apex court that this court had upheld the HC order that had granted bail to former lawmaker Mashiur Rahman who had been convicted and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in another corruption case.
Senior Judicial Magistrate Nayan Boral of Narail Cognisance Court yesterday rejected Khaleda's bail petition in a case filed for her “derogatory remarks” on the Liberation War martyrs after her lawyer moved the petition before the court, UNB reports.
On April 16, the court fixed May 8 for hearing the bail appeal.
On August 23, 2016, the court issued an arrest warrant for the BNP chief in the case.
On July 25 last, a court summoned Khaleda over the issue.
On December 21, 2015, Khaleda at a discussion at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, raised questions about the actual number of Liberation War martyrs, saying, "There're controversies over how many were martyred in the Liberation War. There're also many books and documents on the controversies."
Reacting to Khaleda's remarks, one Raihan Farooque Imam of Naragati filed a case with the Cognisance Court on December that year.