Vol. 5 Num 1025 Fri. April 20, 2007  
Front Page

HC asks govt if Khaleda confined
Expresses concern over the issue after petition

The High Court (HC) yesterday ordered the government to inform it about the present state of former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, including whether she is confined or not.

The order followed a petition filed by BNP leader Khondker Babul Chowdhury challenging the reported confinement of Khaleda to her house, and seeking a directive from the court for not sending her abroad.

The HC also expressed its concern over the issue and asked the state side counsel to convey 'our anxiety to the authorities concerned.'

Hearing of the case was adjourned till Sunday.

When the petition about 'illegal confinement' of Khaleda was submitted, Additional Attorney General Salauddin Ahmed, who stood for the state, told the court that he would inform it about the present state of the former premier in writing on Sunday.

Salauddin also said so far as he knows no measures have been taken for confinement or house arrest of Khaleda. "She is free, rather, we would have been surprised to see that she did not visit her son in prison."

Babul, a member of the BNP national executive committee, said in his petition that after prohibiting domestic politics on March 8, the present government started restricting Khaleda's movement outside her house, and asked her not to go out of it.

The petition said, " The government is putting huge pressure on the detainee (Khaleda) to leave the country as soon as possible. She is being threatened of getting arrested and harassed if she does not leave the country shortly, which is apparent from some newspaper reports published in the past few days.

"The measures of arresting and torturing both her sons and filing consecutive cases against them are also part of putting pressure on her to leave the country. The government has created such a circumstance in which her staying in the country has become almost impossible."

The petition further said, "Still she is not willing to leave the country, leaving her son Tarique Rahman in jail custody, and as a result, the opposite parties are putting more and more restrictions on her and increasing the pressure on her.

"If there is any suspicion that the detainee had committed any criminal offence, then action under normal law could be taken against her, but her detention in the present manner is no substitute for such purpose and is fully illegal and without any lawful authority."

Barrister Rafiqul Islam Mia and Advocate Azizul Haq moved for the petitioner.

Later, they told newsmen that even the state of emergency cannot restrain right of movement of a citizen.