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BNP apprehends ‘dictated’ verdict against Tarique, Zubaida in graft case

The BNP is worried that its acting chairman Tarique Rahman along with his wife Zubaida Rahman may be found guilty and sentenced in a graft case through a ‘dictated’ verdict as part of a government blueprint, reports UNB.

The party’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, voiced this concern on the eve of a lower court verdict in a graft case against the party’s acting chairman and his wife. Earlier on July 27, a Dhaka court fixed August 2 to deliver the judgement in the graft case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2007.

“We are afraid that Tarique Rahman and his wife Dr Zubaida Rahman may be sentenced in a dictated verdict through the so-called trial process conducted as per a blueprint of the government,” Fakhrul said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, Fakhrul noted that although lakhs of cases remain pending in the courts, the trial in the case against Tarique and Zubaida has progressed with incredible speed- the testimonies of 42 witnesses have already been taken in just 16 days.

“The deposition of witnesses was recorded unilaterally until 8-9 pm. When our lawyers raised questions about the legality of such proceedings, they were repeatedly assaulted by the police and pro-government lawyers and thrown out of the courtroom. In fact, it was a camera trial,” Fakhrul alleged.

The BNP leader said their party’s many leaders, including Khaleda Zia, have been sentenced through ‘dictated’ verdicts in the past. “In the same process, a plot has been hatched to sentence them (Tarique-Zubaida) following a dictated verdict.”

He said the people expect the court to ensure justice. “If something is done unfairly, then the last hope of the people in the judiciary will be lost and the trust will be lost.”

Replying to a question, Fakhrul said the government expedited the trial process in the case against Tarique and Zubaida as the BNP acting chairman is successfully leading the ongoing movement for democracy.

“The government is trying to punish him (Tarique) in a planned way. A list of BNP senior leaders has been made aiming to convict them in the courts by hurriedly disposing of the cases filed against them. The aim of this project is to remove the potential BNP leaders from the field before the upcoming election and put the party’s leadership into question. This is their target,” he observed.

Fakhrul said the Anti-Corruption Commission is not only a subservient institution of the government but also a weapon to suppress the opposition parties. “We are witnessing farce in the name of justice in all the cases.”