Dhaka summons UK envoy over report on Zia

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A Bangladesh foreign ministry official said that UK report mentioning Zia was “under house arrest was contrary to the fact that she has been conditionally freed from jail.”…reports Asian Lite News.

Dhaka on Sunday summoned the Acting High Commissioner of UK to Bangladesh to convey disappointment over an “insinuating and misleading” comment on BNP chairperson and the country’s ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia’s current status in a human rights report, media reported.

UK envoy Javed Patel was conveyed the Dhaka’s views and disappointment with certain issues mentioned in the Bangladesh chapter of the Human Rights and Democracy Report 2020, released by the UK Foreign Office (FCDO).

A Bangladesh foreign ministry official said that UK report mentioning Zia was “under house arrest was contrary to the fact that she has been conditionally freed from jail.”

Zia, 76, was serving a 17-year jail term on two graft charges from February 8, 2018, while the government allowed her temporary release on “humanitarian grounds” at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic after her family met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

But the government simultaneously set conditions requiring her to stay at her home debarred her from leaving the country and taking part in political activities being a convict with charges of “moral turpitude”.

“The Acting High Commissioner (AHC) was told that it was grossly misleading to use the words ‘house arrest’ in reference to the current situation of Begum Khaleda Zia, Chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP),” the statement said.

Earlier this month, Bangladesh Law Minister Anisul Huq has said former Zia has no other alternative but to confess her guilt and apologise to the President to leave the country legally.

BNP chairperson Zia has been in jail since February 8, 2018 over the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. On October 10, 2019, her sentence got extended by five more years after her lawyer appealed against the lower court order.

Meanwhile, in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case, Khaleda Zia was sentenced to seven years as a special court convicted her on October 27,2019.

Right now, Khaleda Zia has at least 36 cases ongoing against her including the Zia Orphanage Trust Corruption Case and Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. She was shifted from jail to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University on April 1, 2019.

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