Dhaka, March 4: A Bangladeshi court on Wednesday upheld the arrest warrant it issued on February 25 against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in cases filed by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).
After hearing Khaleda’s pleas to withdraw the warrant, to uphold her bail and defer the hearings, the court of Dhaka’s Third Special Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar told the defence that his previous orders remained effective, bdnews24.com reported.
The court did not either accept or reject the petitions, but included them in the case documents. The warrant for the former prime minister was issued after she failed to appear in the hearing of Zia Orphage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases on successive dates.
There was no hearing on testimonies of witnesses on Wednesday, though seven of them were present. The court set April 5 to hear the testimonies.
Meanwhile, the prosecution claimed that Khaleda was a fugitive, as she had not surrendered before the court even after an arrest warrant was issued against her. “There’s no way of hearing Khaleda’s petitions since she had not surrendered to the court,” ACC lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajal told reporters after Wednesday’s hearings.
“The court heard the matter since senior lawyers represented her at the court. The court included the pleas in the case documents, but did not accept them,” he said.
Apart from the special judge’s court, Khaleda has also filed a petition with the high court to withdraw the arrest warrant. The bench of justices Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Md. Khasruzzaman will hear the matter on Thursday along with the no-confidence motion brought by the former prime minister against the trial court’s judge, said the defence counsel.
The court had also instructed Khaleda’s eldest son Tarique Rahman’s lawyers to present him in court on Wednesday. He has been living in London since 2008 after being released in parole. On Tuesday, Khaleda filed the petition to the court to withdraw the arrest warrant.
Her chief counsel and advisor Khandaker Mahbub Hossain’s statements to media the same day made it very clear that she would not be appearing in court on Wednesday.
Hossain said the BNP chairperson would only go to the court on conditions of adequate security and an assurance that she could return to her Gulshan office after the hearing. (IANS)