khaleda zia unlikely to contest elections after prison term extended
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

Khaleda Zia unlikely to contest elections after prison term extended

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Khaleda Zia unlikely to contest elections after prison term extended

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Dhaka - Arab Today

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia cannot contest the forthcoming general election if the country’s Supreme Court doesn’t scrap her punishment, according to the chief law officer of the country, Attorney General Mahbub-e-Alam. He said: “If the Supreme Court stays the High Court verdict that extended her sentence to 10 years’ imprisonment from five years, she can get a release from jail but she cannot contest the election unless the Supreme Court cancels the High Court verdict.”
Alam was taking to reporters on Wednesday after the High Court verdict, which extended Zia’s jail term from five to 10 years in connection with her alleged involvement in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The attorney general said the defense will have the opportunity to appeal this verdict in the next month.

“But she cannot run for election — even if her appeal remains pending or the operation of her sentence is suspended,” he added.
Earlier, on Feb. 8, a lower court in Dhaka pronounced a verdict of five years’ imprisonment. But the plaintiff of the case, the Anti-Corruption Commission, appealed against the verdict, asking for her punishment period to be increased since she is the main person accused in the case.
Khurshid Alam, the Anti-Corruption Commission’s lawyer, said: “The High Court granted our appeal. So, now all the convicts have the same punishment — 10 years in jail.” Three others, including Zia’s eldest son Tarique Rahman, the acting chairperson of the party, are also accused in the case. Rahman has been in exile in UK for a decade.
However, BNP leaders are still optimistic about the possibilities of Zia contesting in the next election. Advocate Sanaullah Mia, legal affairs secretary of the BNP and a penal lawyer for Zia, told Arab News: “Still there are chances and I don’t understand how the attorney general makes such remarks on this issue.”
But some political analysts say it is not “unprecedented” in many countries for a major political opponent to be kept aside from an election race.
Dr. Asif Nazrul, a Dhaka University teacher in the law department, told Arab News: “Technically still there is scope for her to contest. If the Supreme Court dismisses the ‘Leave to Appeal,’ only then will she be disqualified.”
Whatever, it will not affect her political career if her party, the BNP, wins the election race, Nazrul said. “But if the BNP fails, it will increase the political tension in the society … It may create a trend of revenge through he judicial process and eventually turn into a cause of anger and revenge.”
Toufique Imrose Khalidi, editor-in-chief of BDNEWS24.com, told Arab News: “It is difficult for grassroots BNP supporters to accept a general election in which senior party functionaries will participate, but Khaleda Zia will not or cannot. As things stand today, it appears that her party is all set to take part with or without her and son Tarique Rahman to stop further erosion of the party base.”
Ha added: “Already more than 12 years out of power, the party has very little option but to accept the reality. And the reality is having at least some representation in the new parliament. Or else those who have long been investing in their political careers will get frustrated and look for alternatives, the signs of which are already there.”

From: Arabnews

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