Bangladeshi opposition leader Khaleda Zia, who is seeking treatment at a hospital, was produced before a court on Thursday and sent to jail -- a move her party called inhumane.
Zia, 73, widow of assassinated former President Ziaur Rahman, faces dozens of charges related to violence and corruption that her lawyers insist are politically motivated.
She was taken to jail in capital Dhaka directly from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and produced before a special makeshift court inside the jail premises for hearing of a graft case
Zia has been serving jail time for the last eight months and was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 6 following a High Court order.
UN official urges Bangladesh to halt Rohingya returns
A UN human rights official has implored Bangladesh to shelve its plans to start the repatriation of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar this month, fearing they may face violence or abuse."I have not seen any evidence of the Government of Myanmar taking concrete and visible measures to create an environment where the Rohingya can return to their place of origin and live there safely with their fundamental rights guaranteed," Yanghee Lee, the special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said in a statement on the UN website on Tuesday.Lee said she fears the Rohingya may face suffering, violence, or abuse as Myanmar has failed to take any tangible measures for the Rohingya's return to the border state of Rakhine in November.Facebook says human rights report shows it should do more in Myanmar"Not only did the Rohingya face horrific violence at the hands of security forces in 2016 and 2017 with no accountability, they have been subjected to decades-long systematic discrimination and persecution in Myanmar," Lee said, urging both Bangladesh and Myanmar to call off the repatriation."I urge the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to halt these rushed plans for repatriation, to ensure the protection of the Rohingya refugees and to adhere to their international human rights and refugee law obligations to ensure any returns are safe, sustainable, voluntary and dignified," she added.Persecution of RohingyaThe Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).Bangladesh court sentences two to death for war crimesMore than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children, and women, fled Myanmar and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.
Hospital director Brig. Gen. Abdullah al Harun said Zia was released after the medical board issued a discharge certificate, local Daily Star reported.
The court adjourned the hearing till Nov. 14.
Speaking to reporters, her lawyer Taherul Islam Touhid said Zia appeared before the court despite being ill.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary-General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters at the prison gate that their leader was taken to jail illegally.
Bangladesh court sentences two to death for war crimes
The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh on Monday handed death sentences to two people for war crimes during the Liberation War in 1971.The convicts Liakat Ali, 63, a former ruling party member, and Aminul Islam alias Rajab Ali, 62, are absconding, the Daily Star reported.Speaking to reporters, prosecutor Rana Dasgupta said the convicts were found guilty of committing crimes against humanity including murder and genocide.The court said in its verdict that the prosecution had proven all seven charges brought against the accused. They will be hung by neck till death.Of the 85 suspects in the 35 cases brought before the tribunal, five have died outside of custody. Eighty have been convicted, including 53 sentenced to death.This is not the first time the controversial tribunal, convicted elderly people -- mostly political opponents -- for alleged crimes during the war almost 48 years ago, that marked the country's secession from Pakistan.It is a domestic tribunal in Bangladesh set up in 2009 in order to investigate and prosecute suspects of war crimes in 1971 -- allegedly committed by the Pakistani military and their local collaborators in Bangladesh.However, the tribunal is accused of being used against political opponents under the pretext of punishing the war criminals.Following the formation of the court, international human rights group, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, voiced their deep concern over the “unfair trial” process and absence of the court’s international standard.Indian Ocean Rim Association accepts Turkey’s bidAsian MPs urge halt to Rohingya repatriation plan amid safety fearsKillings in India's northeast raise tension over citizenship survey
In a news conference, party official Nazrul Islam Khan said their leader needs further medical care as doctors described her physical condition as worsening. If the treatment is interrupted, she could suffer paralysis, he added.
In late October, the Bangladesh High Court scaled up Zia's jail term from five to 10 years in a graft case.
In a separate case, Zia and three other party workers were sentenced to seven years in jail.
Bangladesh to use electronic voting machines in polls
Bangladeshi president on Wednesday gave a go ahead to the use of electronic voting machines, first time in the country’s history, for the next general elections to be held in December this year, local media reported.President Abdul Hamid promulgated the ordinance of the amendment to the Representation of the People Order with provision of using electronic voting machines in the elections, said Bdnews24, a local online news agency.Hamid’s move came a day before his scheduled meeting with the election commission officials to discuss issues pertaining to parliamentary elections.Opposition parties are opposing the use of machines, saying the government took sudden decision for “digital corruption” in the polls.Md Joynal Abedin, president’s press secretary, told the news agency that the country’s Law Ministry will issue a gazette notification on the ordinance.Earlier, Cabinet Secretary Md Shafiul Alam had said “the amendment would be issued in the form of an ordinance as there was not enough time to push it through parliament ahead of the election.”