Photo:Sheikh Hasina ,on the way to Court.
The detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday told a special court that she had been produced in court by force and complained of her incomplete treatment and mental harassment by the government.
Hasina, also the Awami League president, was discharged at about 2:00pm from Square Hospital where she had undergone treatment since March 11, produced in court at 2.15pm and taken to the special jail on the Jatiya Sangsad complex at about 3.15pm.
Deputy inspector general (prisons) Shamsul Haider Siddiqui told reporters outside the court that as Hasina was discharged by the hospital, she was sent back to jail.
Hasina was produced in the special judge’s court 1 on the Jatiya Sangsad complex after she had failed to appear in court on March 13, 17 and 23 to face the hearing in the framing of charges in the barge-mounted power plant case.
On March 23, M Firoz Alam, the judge of the court, ordered the jail authorities to produce Hasina, then under treatment in Square Hospital, in court ‘without fail’ on Sunday.
Hasina told the court on Sunday that she was discharged by the hospital authorities without completing her treatment.
‘The doctors did not want to discharge me, but the hospital management had to send me back at the instruction of the jail authorities,’ she alleged, adding that she had an appointment with a doctor on Sunday and that had to be cancelled.
‘What is the reason for dragging me to court straight from the hospital, leaving my treatment incomplete?’ she told the court. ‘This is nothing but mental harassment.’
After the court proceedings, Hasina told her lawyers, ‘The people who are now doing such injustice to me will also have to relinquish power one day and then they will face trial in people’s court.’
The general manager of the hospital, James Gomes, told, ‘We have discharged her as she is fit now and she does not need to stay here any more as an indoor patient.’
As her health condition is quite normal, her blood pressure is under control and the necessary tests have been done, she now needs another check-up of the eyes which can be done as an outdoor patient on April 2, he said, adding that the hospital management recommended the prison authorities to take her to the hospital on Wednesday.
A physician at the hospital, also a member of the medical team formed to treat Hasina, however, told , ‘She [Hasina] was discharged as the prison authorities wanted it. She did not fully recover and some of her tests remained incomplete.’
In the courtroom, Hasina complained that she had lost hearing in one ear and 25 per cent of the vision in the left eye because of ‘negligence of the jail authorities.’
She suffered damage to the ears in the grenade explosion in the Awami League rally in Dhaka on August 21, 2004.
She, however, brushed aside the report the jail authorities submitted to the court on March 23 which said she was not produced in court on the date because of her unwillingness.
Hasina said, ‘Why should I not appear in court because of unwillingness?’
She also said the medical report the jail authorities submitted to the court on March 23 which claimed that she was fit had been prepared without her knowledge.
Everywhere in the world, there is a provision for on-call doctors from outside to attend a patient in a hospital, she said, but she was denied such privilege and none of the doctors, who have been treating her for long, were allowed to attend her.
She also alleged that the jail code was not being properly followed in allowing her relations and lawyers to meet her from time to time.
The court, scheduled to resume at 9:30am to hear the defence petition seeking discharge of Hasina from the case, began the proceedings at 2.15pm after Hasina had been produced.
After Hasina’s statement, the chief prosecutor, Sharfuddin Ahmed Khan Mukul, prayed to the court for beginning further proceedings in the case.
Opposing him, defence counsel Qamrul Islam told the court that as Hasina was ill and her senior counsels had left the court at noon, the proceedings should be adjourned for the day.
Hearing both the sides, the court adjourned the hearing till April 3.
Hasina was arrested on July 16, 2007 in connection with an extortion case and has since then been detained in the special jail on the national assembly complex.