Jail authorities say they won’t reach Khaleda’s poltical letters

Sushanta Das Gupta

Sushanta Das Gupta

Sushanta Das Gupta is the Publisher/Chief Editor of E-Bangladesh.

[Dhaka Correspondent

The BNP would go to the High Court once again seeking direction on the jail authorities to dispatch the party chief’s letter to the election commission soon as the jail authorities has said that they may not hand over the letter that has requested the commission to communicate with Khandaker Delwar Hossain on any issue related to the party. 

‘We would go to the court once again anytime this week as it seems that the prison authorities are unwilling to send the detained party chairperson’s letter to the Election Commission requesting it to communicate with Khandaker Delwar Hossain on any issue related to the party,’ said a BNP standing committee member close to secretary-general Khandaker Delwar Hossain.  

Khaleda’s attorney Sanaullah Miah also echoed the standing committee member.

Their move comes after the jail authorities on Friday said the detained former prime minister, Khaleda Zia, will not be allowed to send out any ‘political’ as per the jail code and if she does so it would not be reached to the addressee.

The deputy inspector general of prisons, Major Shamsul Haider Siddiqui, told reorters that if the letter contains any political issue it would not be despatched. ‘No detainee can make a political decision,’ he said citing the jail code.

He also accused the BNP chief and her attorneys of violating the jail code through discussing political issues with her attorneys.

‘Speaking of politics is a violation of the jail code. They had taken permission to discuss legal issues for the former prime minister. But later they told journalists about different political decisions by Khaleda Zia. It should not be done,’ he said.

He claimed that the jail authorities are yet to receive any letter from the BNP chief and if the letter contains political issues, steps will be taken as per the jail code.

He said the detained persons have to collect paper from the authorities for sending letter and if anybody is unable write the authorities are supposed to take their dictation but nothing of such took place in Khaleda’s case.

‘She did not ask for any paper from the authorities. Maybe the letter was not handwritten,’ he said.

Haider promptly arranged the news conference after two attorneys of Khaleda after meeting her on Thursday evening said she had sent a letter to the chief election commissioner through jail authorities.

Khaleda’s attorneys, Nawshad Zamir and Sanaullah Miah, said she wrote the letter in their presence and gave it to jail authorities.

In the letter Khaleda has described Khandaker Delwar Hossain as the ‘legal’ secretary general of the party and urged the CEC to hold talks on electoral reforms only with him.

According to Nawshad, Khaleda Zia on November 5, 2007, also sent a letter to the Election Commission and she wrote to the commission again as she did not know what happened to the letter she sent to the commission earlier.

Sanaullah Miah, however, claimed that neither the lawyers nor the detained prime minister have violated the jail code. ‘We did not violate the jail as we discussed about the writ petition, which challenged the election commission’s invitation to BNP faction secretary general Hafuzuddin Ahmed for its dialogue on electoral reforms, pending with the High Court,’ he said.

He said the detained BNP chairperson gave dictation of the [Thursday] letter to Nawshad Zamir in front of jailer Faruque. ‘Two copies of the letter were prepared as she wanted to convey her views to both the Election Commission and the High Court. The letters were handed over to the jailer, who was present there, to send to the commission and the court through the deputy inspector general of prisons,’ he said adding, ‘This was the only lawful way for her to convey her views as she is yet to be taken to the court.’

Sanaullah said they would inform the High Court about the views of the detained party chief about the commission’s invitation for electoral reforms talks scheduled for November 22, 2007.      

The Election Commission and four of the seven BNP standing committee members on February 12 submitted separate replies to the rule issued by the High Court.

Four standing committee members of BNP— RA Gani, M Shamsul Islam, Khondker Mahabubuddin Ahmad and Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed Siddiqui — in their separate replies before the High Court bench said that no meeting of standing committee was held on October 29.

They claimed that they had just joined a tea party hosted by former finance minister Saifur Rahman at his Gulshan residence that day.

Two ‘unidentified officials’ were present at the late evening party, the BNP leaders said, adding that they were to sign a resolution due to ‘special circumstance.’

The High Court on November 18, 2007 issued the rule on the Election Commission and the government to explain why the commission’s invitation letter addressed to M Hafizuddin Ahmed, acting secretary general of a BNP faction, would not be declared illegal.

After hearing a writ petition filed by detained BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, the court had also stayed the operation of the invitation letter to the government-backed BNP faction.

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