Five senior lawyers after visiting Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia at former Dhaka Central Jail on Saturday said that she was not given facilities of Division I she deserved in jail but was kept in ‘solitary confinement.’‘She is treated as an ordinary prisoner,’ BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed told reporters after one hour meeting with Khaleda at the prison.
He said that prison and intelligence officials were present during the meeting.
Five senior lawyers –– Moudud, BNP standing committee member Jamiruddin Sircar, BNP chief’s adviser Khondkar Mahbub Hossain, former attorney general AJ Mohammad Ali and Abdur Rezzaque Khan –– met Khaleda to discuss legal issues and get necessary authorisation for her appeal against the verdict that jailed her for five years on February 8 in Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Orphanage Trust case.
The lawyers reached the jail gate at about 3:00pm, waited until 4:25pm and then members from police and intelligence agencies escorted them to Khaleda’s facility. They came out of the jail at about 5:45pm.
Moudud said that Khaleda was kept at a broken and abandoned facility in the former prison, and her personal domestic help was not allowed to serve her. ‘Her domestic help was not allowed although she could not move alone,’ said Moudud, also former law minister.
He said that Khaleda was well though she was kept as a general prisoner despite deserving Division-I privileges in jail as per the revised Jail Code.
Moudud said that although the government claimed that Khaleda was given an assistant in jail but in reality she was kept alone and the food served to her were inedible. ‘She is not given the food prepared at home,’ he said.
Moudud alleged that the government deliberately kept Khaleda in solitary confinement simply to harass her. ‘It is against the constitution.’
‘She cannot move alone as she had a major surgery in the knee. We will go to the High Court,’ he said.
Asked whether they had contacted the jail authorities to give Khaleda higher division facilities, Moudud said that there was no need to contact the authorities. ‘The law clearly says what would take place. Division facility is supposed to be given automatically,’ he said.
‘Actually the government is doing all these to irritate Khaleda,’ he said.
Moudud said that they might file appeal against the trial court verdict if the copy of the verdict was available on Sunday.
Khandkaer Mahbub Hossain and AJ Mohammad Ali told New Age that Khaleda’s moral was high comparing the past.