Pro- BNP lawyers boycotted the Supreme Court today protesting the increased punishment of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in a corruption case.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Advocate Zainul Abedin and Secretary Barrister KM Mahbubuddin Khokon began the boycott around 9:00am.
As part of their demonstration they locked the Supreme Court main gate. The demonstration ended at 1:00pm.
Meanwhile, both the Appellate Division and High Court Division of the Supreme Court are running their regular judicial functions as usual.
Pro-BNP lawyers were demonstrating at the Supreme Court Bar Association in front of the SCBA president’s room against verdict on Khaleda Zia.
During the demonstration some pro-BNP lawyers and pro-AL lawyers locked in a scuffle while entering into the court room at around 9:30am. However, no one was injured.
WHAT WAS THE VERDICT?
The High Court yesterday doubled the five-year jail term for BNP Chairperson Khaleda, handed to her by a lower court in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The former prime minister landed in already in jail since February 8 after being sentenced by a special court that day in this very case.
Also, she stands convicted in another graft suit – Zia Charitable Trust graft case – where she was awarded seven years’ in jail. The same court handed the sentence the day before yesterday.
CAN KHALEDA JOIN POLLS?
The HC verdict has fueled the ongoing debate about whether Khaleda can contest the upcoming election.
Article 66 (2) (d) of the constitution says, “A person shall be disqualified for election as, or for being, a member of Parliament who has been, on conviction for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.”
According to Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, the BNP chief cannot join the race unless her convictions are scrapped and she is acquitted.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam echoed his views.
However, Law Minister Anisul Huq referred to a previous split verdict delivered by the Supreme Court on the matter.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul himself thinks Khaleda became somewhat disqualified from running after the verdicts, given the lengthy legal process.