The government has extended the suspension of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's jail sentence in two corruption cases by another six months with all the previous conditions remaining unchanged.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan came up with the disclosure while talking to reporters at his Secretariat office on Sunday.
He said the government took the decision following an application submitted by the BNP chief’s family.
“Khaleda Zia’s younger brother Shamim Iskander submitted an application to us seeking extension of her jail term suspension. We approved it following due process,” he said.
The minister said it is for the fourth time the government has extended the BNP chief’s release by suspending her jail sentence in Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases.
He said the fresh six month’s jail term suspension of Khaleda will be counted from September 25 next.
As per the conditions, he said Khaleda Zia will receive treatment at her Gulshan residence the way she wants. “But she won’t be able to leave the country. The conditions that were there before will remain the same.”
Asked about BNP’s demand for her permanent release, the Home Minister said it is a matter of court. “They’ve to go to court if they want her permanent release.”
Khaleda’s family submitted an application to the Home Ministry early this month seeking further extension of her conditional release and allowing her to go abroad for receiving advanced treatment.
The Home Ministry sent the application to the Law Ministry a few days back seeking its legal opinion.
The Law Ministry gave its opinion on September 7 and sent it back to the Home Ministry.
Earlier on September 12, Law Minister Anisul Huq said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia must return to jail for submitting a fresh application to seek permission to go abroad for treatment.
“There’s no scope to reconsider the application seeking permission to send Khaleda Zia abroad under section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). She has to go back to jail and then submit a fresh application if she wants to go abroad for treatment,” the minister said.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail for six months through an executive order suspending her sentences on March 25 last year.
The government extended her release for six more months on August 27 last year and it was extended further for another six months on March 15 last.
Khaleda Zia tested positive for Covid-19 on April 10, and she was admitted to Evercare Hospital on April 27. She received treatment there until June 19 for post-Covid complications and some other underlying health problems.
On May 5, her family applied to the government seeking permission to take her abroad for better treatment, but the government turned it down saying there is no scope for a convicted person to avail of such a scope.