Citing concern over the health of Khaleda Zia, the BNP has demanded her unconditional release from jail.
“We are anxious over her health. We urge the government to release her immediately so that we can arrange necessary medical tests and treatments by her personal physicians,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a media briefing in Dhaka on Friday.
When asked if the former prime minister would be taken abroad if released, Fakhrul said: “We just want an unconditional release for her so that we can arrange medical care for her, either in the country or abroad.”
“We have not asked for parole. We have asked for her release which she is entitled to. She has already secured bail,” he further said.
A special trial court ordered a five-year jail sentence for Khaleda onFeb 8 after finding her guilty in a graft case involving Zia Orphanage Trust. Since then, the BNP chairperson has been behind bars in Old Dhaka.
A High Court order granting bail to her for four months was stayed by the Appellate Division on petitions by the state and the Anti-Corruption Commission, the plaintiff of the case.
Mirza Fakhrul was due to meet Khaleda on Thursday but the meeting was cancelled after Khaleda fell ill in jail, according to BNP.
The jail authorities are yet to make a formal announcement, but the BNP claims that it was the jailor who phoned Khaleda’s personal secretary to inform him about Khaleda’s deteriorating health.
Khaleda’s attorneys have time to time told court that the 73-year-old had ailments related to heart, eyes and knees.
She needs to take prescribed medicines regularly and follow a certain diet chart.
Khaleda’s personal physicians have tried to visit her several times since her conviction but had to return from the jail gate.
The jail authorities said they would call in the doctors when needed.