Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed
BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia has been released from prison on Wednesday as her conviction has been stayed for six months on humanitarian grounds, considering her age. The BNP chief landed in jail after being sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case by a special court on February 8, 2018. On October 30, 2018, the High Court enhanced her punishment to 10 years in the case after dismissing her appeal. On October 29, 2018, Khaleda Zia was convicted in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case and sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment by another special court in her absence.
The government suspended Khaleda Zia’s sentence under section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (CrPC). The government released Khaleda Zia on the condition that she will have to stay in Dhaka and receive her treatment here. Further, she will not be permitted to leave the country.
As per section 401 of CrPC, when any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence, the Government may at any time without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced.
By releasing Khaleda Zia, PM Sheikh Hasina
has again demonstrated a unique example
of an altruistic gesture
The section also states that if any condition on which a sentence has been suspended or remitted is, in the opinion of the Government not fulfilled, the Government may cancel the suspension or remission, and thereupon the person in whose favour the sentence has been suspended or remitted may, if at large, be arrested by any police-officer without warrant and remanded to undergo the unexpired portion of the sentence.
The law also provides that the condition on which a sentence is suspended or remitted under this section may be one to be fulfilled by the person in whose favour the sentence is suspended or remitted, or one independent of his will.
There have been allegations against government led by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that her government made Khaleda Zia convicted in politically motivated cases, the cases were fabricated; the judiciary was biased against Khaleda and the list goes on. It was also alleged that these cases were filed against Khaleda in order to keep her away from politics.
However, the release order of Khaleda has been issued by the government because our PM Sheikh Hasina wanted the government to release her for six months under section 401 of CrPC considering her age and medical condition on humanitarian grounds. According to ruling Awami League insiders, a couple of factors are behind the government’s decision to release BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail—continuous pleas from her family members and the ongoing pandemic of the deadly coronavirus. All these prove that the allegations made against the government led by Sheikh Hasina, regarding imprisoning a 74 years old lady who had been our prime minister before, were all baseless.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her nationwide address on the eve of the Independence and National Day 2020 said that preventing people from being infected with Corona virus is now her government’s “topmost priority”. PM also said that disasters often appear to test humanity in people and this is the time for extending help to each other to manifest one’s humanity and urged all to be tolerant and sensitive. Her moral values are reflected in her statements. By releasing Khaleda Zia, PM Sheikh Hasina, has again demonstrated a unique example of an altruistic gesture.
Our PM is the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose proactive social consciousness and paramount dedication for politics, gave him the recognition to be a leader of general people. Bangabandhu’s aspiration and sacrifice for nation made him an icon of the country. His leadership feature made himself as a father of the nation.
Bangabandhu was a real epitome of courage and kindness. Bangabandhu’s daughter, our PM Sheikh Hasina; had previously been referred as mother of humanity for sheltering the Rohingya people coming from Myanmar. The Daily Leadership (Nigeria's prestigious newspaper) has termed PM Sheikh Hasina as one of the most austere leaders of the world. According to FORBES’ list of the “World’s Hundred Most Powerful Women”, our PM was ranked at 59.
Our PM grew up seeing her father, Bangabandhu; leading a nation. She saw her father’s love for the people of this country.
And now when it is her turn, I believe she has won the heart of people of our country through her actions and dedication. And the most recent example of her generosity is release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed is an advocate in Bangladesh Supreme Court