Bangladesh ex-PM Zia trapped between life and death: BNP
Dhaka: Jailed former prime minister Khaleda Zia is trapped between life and death as her health has massively deteriorated over the last week due to unhealthy environment, according to her Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Demanding the immediate release of the 73-year-old three-time former prime minister, the BNP standing committee member Jamiruddin Sircar said that due to the loneliness and lack of proper treatment, Zia is suffering from various ailments including heart disease.
She is lodged in a 200-year-old prison in Dhaka since February last year, serving a 10-year jail term in two graft cases.
"Khaleda Zia is trapped between life and death. Keeping Khaleda in jail, depriving her of bail, is contrary to the Constitution and human rights, since her conviction in any of the case had not been finally disposed off by the Supreme Court," Sircar was quoted as saying by the Dhaka Tribune.
The former parliament speaker asked the government to allow her to receive proper treatment at a hospital of her choice.
"The government had assured it would make proper arrangement for Khaleda Zia's treatment, but not enough initiatives were taken yet.
"It is a bad sign that they are not letting Zia out for treatment, even in this worsening condition," Sircar said, adding that she is at a serious risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
He also claimed that the cases against Zia are "politically motivated".
BNP Vice Chairman and one of Zia's personal physicians AZM Zahid Hossain, said: "Zia is suffering from high blood sugar... and always needs to be on insulin. She has a sore tongue, which is not healing due to the high blood sugar. Her left shoulder and elbow joint have become insensitive.
"According to her doctors, Zia is a special care patient. It is important to ensure all the facilities needed for her personal care".
The committee claimed that the government has decided to hold trials of the pending cases against her at Dhaka Central Jail in order to prevent her release from jail.
Last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accused Zia of "faking" her illness in jail to avoid appearances in court where graft cases are pending against her.
The Bangladesh government, citing security reasons, last week set up a new makeshift court adjacent to a prison outside Dhaka to try Zia who is facing several criminal and graft cases.
She was sent to jail in February last year by a local court on charges of embezzling foreign donations meant for an orphanage, named after her slain husband and president Ziaur Rehman, during her premiership between 2001 and 2006.
Rehman, a military ruler-turned-politician, was the founder of the BNP.