Some pro-BNP and pro-Awami League lawyers locked into a scuffle yesterday during a demonstration of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), dominated by pro-BNP lawyers, protesting the HC verdict that enhanced punishment for BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in a corruption case.
The pro-BNP lawyers boycotted both the Appellate and the High Court divisions of the SC, protesting the verdict. Led by SCBA President Advocate Zainul Abedin, also a vice chairman of BNP, lawyers began the boycott around 9:00am as per SCBA's previous announcement.
They locked the main gate of SC building, connecting with the SCBA president's office room on the first floor, so that lawyers could not enter the courtrooms. The demonstration and court-boycott ended at 1:00pm in line with SCBA's earlier announcement.
However, both the Appellate and High Court divisions ran their regular judicial functions as usual, as lawyers, excluding pro-BNP ones, entered courtrooms through the gates on the building's ground floor.
A number of lawyers including Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, additional attorney generals, deputy attorney generals and assistant attorney generals attended the court functions.
The pro-BNP lawyers locked the gate around 9:00am.
A group of pro-AL lawyers protested the move by staging a demonstration and at one stage they locked into a scuffle with the pro-BNP lawyers. However, no untoward incident took place there.
After the court-boycott programme, SCBA President Zainul Abedin at a press conference at its auditorium said the pro-AL lawyers attacked the lawyers, who boycotted the SC, with hammers, rods, sand and ink.
He announced that the lawyers will hold human chains at all bar associations at 1:00pm today, protesting the “attack on lawyers”.
He said the HC enhanced Khaleda's punishment to 10 years in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case under government pressure.
SCBA Secretary Barrister AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon also spoke at the press conference.
Yesterday, pro-AL lawyers held a meeting at the SCBA south hall, protesting the court-boycott programme.
Bangabandhu Awami Ainjibi Parishad's Convener Advocate Yusuf Hossain Humayun and Member Secretary Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, AL's Law Secretary Advocate SM Rezaul Karim and former AL law minister Advocate Abdul Matin Khasru, among others, spoke at the meeting.
The HC on October 30 doubled Khaleda's five-year jail term, handed to her by a lower court in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The former prime minister landed in jail on February 8 after being sentenced by a special court that day.
She also stands convicted in another graft suit -- Zia Charitable Trust graft case -- where she was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on October 29.