Khaleda Zia ineligible to participate in national polls, rules Bangladesh top court

Khaleda Zia ineligible to participate in national polls, rules Bangladesh top court


Dhaka, Oct 23 (IANS) BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will not be able to participate in the upcoming 12th Bangladesh polls, as per the High Court verdict, Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Khushid Alam Khan said Monday.

"If a person is sentenced to two years or more in a case of moral turpitude, then the person is constitutionally ineligible for elections. The court passed a judgment citing Article 66(2)(d) of the Constitution," he told journalists outside the apex court. 

As per Article 66(2)(d), no person who has been convicted for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, can contest elections unless a period of five years has elapsed since their release.

Zia was jailed for a total of 17 years for the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case and Zia Charitable Trust corruption case in 2018.

On Sunday, the High Court ruled that those sentenced to more than two years in corruption cases will not be allowed to participate in the election until their sentence is overturned.

The high court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar also ruled that there is no scope to stay the sentence while the appeal is pending.

The High Court said in Sunday’s verdict that sentences are never suspended and there is no opportunity to participate in the election until the sentence is overturned by the appropriate court.

Meanwhile, the ACC lawyer also has said that the same order was issued against the ruling Awami League law maker Mohammad Salim, known as Haji Selim.

"In the light of this verdict, no person sentenced to more than two years, including Khaleda Zia and Haji Salim, will be able to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections as their sentences were not overturned. If the Appellate Division amends or quashes the High Court verdict, then it is different."

As per the caretaker government, that took over in November, activists of the BNP-Jamaat, which came to power in 2001, started looting the country. Zia, the then Prime Minister, having allocated thousands of crores from the Ministry of Public Works to her relatives in the five years rule. She used Housing and Public Works Minister Mirza Abbas to embezzle government resources.

In February 2007, daily Janakantha published a report with evidence that land and properties worth thousands of crores of takas were distributed among Khaleda Zia's nephews Shahrin Islam Tuhin and Nurun Newaz Salim, political secretary and personal aide Mosaddak Ali Falu, and many others.

Khaleda Zia and her elder son Tarique Rahman meddled in the sale of 29 government houses and lands in Gulshan, Banani, Dhanmondi, Elephant Road and Eskaton, selling these at a tenth of their then market price of 800 crore takas.

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