Bangladesh Supreme Court dismissed the bail plea of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, on December 12, in a corruption case related to Zia Charitable Trust. A bench, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, also ordered the authorities to provide better medical care to ailing Zia.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam informed the court about Zia’s medical condition as cited in the report submitted Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University officials.
"The BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) chairperson has been suffering from arthritis for the last 30 years and diabetes for 20 years. She is suffering from pain on her left knee since 1997," said Alam quoting the medical report.
"Apart from that, she also has Asthma, and is physically weak. She is refusing to receive treatment from doctors at the hospital," he added.
Earlier, the BSMMU medical board, formed to treat the former prime minister, failed to submit the medical report which forced the top court to postpone the hearing of bail plea to December 12. Zia was lodged in the old central jail at Nazim Uddin Road in Dhaka but her deteriorating health condition led to her transfer to BSMMU on April 1 and has been under treatment there since then.
Zia is currently serving a 17-year-long jail term after being convicted for corruptions related to Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust. According to BNP chairperson’s legal counsels, the former prime minister had already secured bail in other cases and she would have been released if she was granted bail Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
"We've fought a legal battle for her bail. It is unprecedented for a court to refuse bail in a case involving a seven-year sentence. This is a scandalous incident," said Khondoker Mahbub, Zia’s lawyer. Khaleda Zia and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are considered as bitter political rivals and the latter has been often blamed for Zia’s incarceration. Zia became the vice-chairperson of the party and then took the top party post after her Zia-ur Rahman husband was assassinated in 1983. Since then, she has been to jail several times in various cases.