In jail, Khaleda is living a lavish life, says Hasina

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-12-04 23:52:58 BdST

Khaleda Zia, convicted of corruption, is enjoying her days “like a king” in hospital under the supervision of the jail authorities, Sheikh Hasina has commented.

The prime minister made the remarks at a meeting of the Awami League at the Ganabhaban in Dhaka on Wednesday, a day before the Supreme Court is set to review the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University report on Khaleda’s health as part of hearings of her appeal for bail.

The 75-year-old is suffering from arthritis and diabetes. She has been in the hospital for eight months after she was transferred from the abandoned jailhouse on Nazimuddin Road. She is serving 17 years in jail in graft cases related to Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust.

Her house help Fatema Begum has been staying with her since she was thrown into jail in February last year.

“Khaleda Zia is in a good condition in jail, like a king. Now [she has been transferred] from jail to hospital,” Hasina said.

“And she has been given a maidservant when people don’t get housemaids. A person has embraced a life of a prisoner willingly for Khaleda Zia, to serve her. She has been given this much facility,” she said.

The Awami League president refuted the BNP’s allegation that the government jailed Khaleda out of vengeance and to keep her away from elections.

“Can someone show a single precedence when a convict got a housemaid to serve them?” she asked.

Hasina also said Khaleda has been ill for a long time, not since she was jailed, referring to the BNP chairperson’s knee surgery in 1991 when she was prime minister.

The prime minister called Khaleda “the godmother of terrorism”, alleging the BNP chief’s roles in the creation of militant leader Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and the deadly firebombing of public transports during opposition protests in 2015.

Referring to the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most members of the family on Aug 15, 1975, Hasina said the anti-liberation forces in Bangladesh and abroad never wanted the country to prosper economically.

“They conspired whenever the country was developing,” she said.

The prime minister also described the steps taken by the government for the country’s development when the Awami League returned to power in 1996.

“We’ve achieved a respectable position in the international arena after the Awami League came to power. We must keep it up,” she said.

“I call upon the entire nation to ensure that the people involved in bribery, money laundering, stealing orphans’ money, grenade attack, bombing, and burning people alive never grab state power again and plunge the country into the path of destruction,” she added.