The BNP has termed "unacceptable" the government's reasoning -- on legal grounds -- for not accepting the application from BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's family to allow her to go abroad for treatment.
"They [government] said they can't allow Khaleda Zia to go abroad [for treatment]. They have given some reasons which are absolutely unacceptable and lame. They said there is no precedence of sending convicts abroad. They are trying to mislead people," said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday.
He made the remarks at a press conference at the BNP chairperson's political office in Gulshan in response to remarks made by several ministers regarding the application for sending Khaleda abroad.
He said, "It is inhumane to not permit Khaleda Zia to go abroad for better treatment. People are being misled. We strongly condemn it."
Giving examples, Fakhrul said, "ASM Abdur Rob was in jail. In 1979, then president Ziaur Rahman released him under the law. He was sent to Germany for treatment. Former health minister Mohammad Nasim was convicted in 2008. The government sent him abroad for treatment."
The BNP leader further said, "I won't name them, but two brothers of a very high-ranking influential government official were sentenced to death. They were sent abroad, after pardoning them under Section-401. Why all these lame excuses in the case of Khaleda Zia?"
He said, "You don't have that generosity. You don't have a big heart, as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had. He [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] showed this generosity to many of his political opponents, released them and helped them."
"According to the existing law, there is no scope for granting the application to let BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia go abroad," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters on Sunday.
The law ministry gave this opinion after reviewing for the second time Section-401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) under which Khaleda's jail sentence was suspended, he pointed out.
The 76-year-old former premier, who tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time on April 24, was admitted to Evercare Hospital on April 27 for a thorough check-up.
She was later shifted to the Coronary Care Unit of the hospital with breathing difficulties.
On April 28, a 10-member medical board, headed by Prof Shahabuddin Talukder, was formed to oversee her treatment.
Khaleda first tested positive for Covid on April 11 and eight people at her residence were infected with the virus.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government on March 25 last year released Khaleda, suspending her jail sentence for six months. Later, the suspension was extended twice.
The BNP chief landed in jail on February 8, 2018, after a special court sentenced her to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. On October 30 that year, the High Court enhanced her punishment to 10 years.