Khaleda Zia’s plea to go abroad: Law Ministry forwards opinion to Home Ministry

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Dhaka, Dec 27: The Law Ministry on Monday forwarded its opinion to the Home Ministry on an application seeking permission to allow BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to go abroad for treatment.

Law Minister Anisul Haque told reporters at the Secretariat that he sent the legal opinion on the application of the BNP chief’s family to the Home Ministry.

Declining to elaborate, he said, “We’ve given our opinion on the application of Khaleda Zia’s brother, and sent it to the Home Ministry.”

The minister said the Home Ministry will now send the file to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval. “I can’t disclose it to you (journalists) now as I have to keep it secret until the Prime Minister sees it,” he said.

He said the decision on the plea will be known once the Prime Minister clears it.

Replying to a question, the Law Minister said there is no scope to reconsider the ‘’past and closed transactions’’ under the six-sub sections of 401 of the Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC).

Anisul said the explanation he gave earlier on the legal barrier to reconsider an application that was disposed of earlier under section 401 is lawful. “I think my explanation was right.”

On December 5, the Law Minister said the government is assessing whether there is any legal option to allow BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to go abroad for medical treatment.

“As there’re many applications, including from lawyers, I think it’s appropriate to come to a well-thought-out decision after examining all aspects and whether there is any scope to do something in any way,” he added.

Khaleda, a 76-year-old former prime minister, has been receiving treatment at Evercare Hospital for various health complications since November 13.

The BNP chief’s medical board members on November 28 said she immediately needs to go abroad for better treatment as she was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis.

On behalf of her family, Khaleda’s younger brother, Shamim Iskander, submitted an application to the Home Ministry on November 11 seeking permission to take her abroad for treatment.

Though the government earlier twice turned down such applications, it is taking time to dispose of the fresh plea of the BNP chief’s family.

On November 28, the Law Minister told parliament that Khaleda is now free as she is not in government custody.

He also said as Khaleda was temporarily released under section 401 of the Criminal Code of Procedure based on some conditions, including not leaving the country, there is no provision in the law to allow her to go abroad now until she submits a fresh petition after returning to jail.

BNP leaders and pro-BNP lawyers, however, have long been arguing that the government has the unlimited authority to take any decision in this regard under section 401 of the Criminal Code of Procedures.

The party has also been observing various programmes since November 25 demanding that the BNP chief be allowed to go abroad as there is no advanced cnetre in Bangladesh to treat her liver cirrhosis problem.