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Khaleda challenges new makeshift court in Keraniganj
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia taken to the court at the Old Central Jail in the Niko graft case

Khaleda challenges new makeshift court in Keraniganj

Dhaka, May 26 – BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has filed a petition challenging the legality of the government’s move to shift trial against her in the Niko graft case to the central jail in Keraniganj from the now defunct jailhouse in Old Dhaka.
Barrister Kayser Kamal, counsel for the BNP chief, filed the petition with the related branch of the High Court seeking stay on the effectiveness of the government’s notification which said that the trial would be conducted in a makeshift court in Keraniganj.
The HC bench comprising Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Md Khairul Alam is likely to hold the hearing on the petition on Monday, lawyers concerned said.
On May 12, the law ministry in a gazette notification said that the trials proceedings of
17 cases including the Niko against Khaleda Zia would be held at a special court inside Keraniganj Central Jail in Dhaka due to security concerns.
In her petition, the BNP chief said that the notification violated articles 17 and 31 of the Constitution along with sections 9(1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
It also alleged the law ministry gazette notification to transfer the court for holding trial of Niko case is contradictory to the relevant provision of the constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Under the provision, the trial of any case will have to be held in open court, according to the petition.
The trial of Niko case in a room in the Keraniganj jail cannot be a public trial and it is against the constitution and CrPC. Hence, the gazette is “illegal and unconstitutional.
Earlier, on May 21, Barrister Kayser Kamal, sent a legal notice on behalf of the BNP chief to the government challenging the circular on shifting the trials to the court at Keraniganj jail.
The circular runs contrary to Article 35 of the Constitution, which stipulates “public trial”, Kayser said, citing the legal notice. The government had been given a 24-hour ultimatum to scrap the circular under the notice. As the government did not reply the notice, the writ petition was filed with the HC challenging the government notice.
Khaleda, a former prime minister, has been in jail since February last year after she was convicted of corruption. Her party claims that the cases against her are politically motivated and accuses the government of plotting to keep her out of national politics – a charge the government denies.
Khaleda Zia has been receiving treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for various health complications since April 1.
Earlier this month, the home minister said that the BNP chief would be taken to Keraniganj jail after her treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
The old central jail, where she had been kept, will be converted into a museum, he told reporters. – Staff Reporter