Khaleda Zia released

Khaleda Zia released

BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia walked out of the jail after 25 months on Wednesday afternoon as the government suspended her jail term by six months on two conditions.

Hundreds of leaders and activists of her party welcomed her at the gate of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), where Khaleda Zia was undergoing treatment from last year.

The BNP chief came out from the BSMMU with her family members at 4:14pm.

Khaleda Zia’s sister Selima Rahman, younger brother Shamim Eskander and his wife Kaniz Fatema went to receive her at the hospital.

Khaleda's family members received her from the jail authorities and took her to Gulshan residence.

Decision to release Khaleda Zia was made on Tuesday as per the executive order based on an order of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The conditions are - Khaleda has to receive treatment at her home during this period and she cannot go abroad.

In February 2018, Khaleda was sentenced to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

The jail term was extended by another five years when an appeal was lodged with the High Court.

In November that year, she filed a petition with the Appellate Division seeking acquittal.

Her lawyers, however, are yet to present the petition to the court.

The BNP chief remains behind bars since the day she was sentenced.

Moreover, in October 2018, a special court sentenced her to a seven-year rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Charitable Trust case.

She was also fined Tk10 lakh, and another six-month jail term in case of defaulting on the fine.

The three other convicts of the case received the same punishment.

A month later, an appeal was filed with the High Court.

The court in April last year accepted the appeal for hearing. It suspended the fine and stayed the confiscation of her properties.

Also, the court asked officials concerned to submit case documents within two months. The case documents were sent to the court on June 20.

In July, the High Court dismissed Khaleda's bail petition.

She then submitted a bail petition to the Appellate Division, but the court dismissed it after hearing in December.

The Appellate Division at the time said Khaleda could be provided better treatment if she agreed.

The BNP chairperson again submitted a bail petition to the High Court, which the court rejected in February.

The court said Khaleda had to be provided treatment fast if she agreed and her medical board could include new physicians in the team if it wanted to do so.

Khaleda's family members had repeatedly been calling on the authorities to release her for treatment while her bail petition remained sub judice.

The Nationalist Lawyers' Forum also called on the government to release her under Article 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Amnesty International hailed the decision of the interim release of Khaleda Zia and hoped she would be given unrestricted access to healthcare.