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Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina Noor Ali Case

AL to file appeal against order

Staff Correspondent

The High Court on Monday refused Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina bail in the extortion case filed by businessman Noor Ali, her lawyer said.

The vacation bench of Justice Sheikh Rezwan Ali and justice Md Raisuddin turned down the former prime minister's appeal for bail. Sheikh Hasina will appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court order.
 
"The High Court has rejected Sheikh Hasina's bail petition saying that she doesn't have to get bail as she's already undergoing treatment abroad on parole," her chief counsel barrister Rafique-ul Huq said to bdnews24.com immediately after the order.
 
"We'll file appeal against the High Court order. Awami League will decide about it finally though."
 
Hasina's other counsel barrister Fazle Noor Tapash told bdnews24.com that they would challenge the order in the Supreme Court.
 
"The High Court ruling said Hasina has been let out on parole and the tenure of her parole has been extended. Now, her treatment will not be hampered if this bail prayer is rejected.
 
"Therefore, the court doesn't consider it necessary to grant the petitioner bail on 'health grounds'."
 
Earlier on Sept. 24, the court closed hearings on the former prime minister 's bail prayer and set Monday for ruling in the case.
 
The court in its order said the bail prayer could not be considered in absence of Hasina and that on returning home she could come to the court for bail.
 
It also said Hasina had been freed on parole for treatment. Later, the tenure of parole had been extended. She had been taking treatment and in such a situation the bail appeal could not be considered.
 
The High Court in its order said her counsel argued that the date for election has been announced and that Hasina needed to come to the country to organise her party. So she needed bail.
 
But a political issue could not be taken into account in considering bail prayer, the court observed.
 
Barrister Huq had said at the hearing last week the Supreme Court and the High Court had granted bail to Tarique Rahman, Sigma Huda, SQ Chowdhury, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and many others.
 
Similarly, he argued, Hasina should also be released on bail on 'health grounds.'
 
The court reviewed the bails granted to Tarique and Huda by the Supreme Court and in which cases bail could be granted under the state of emergency with reference to Moizuddin Shikder case.
 
It said in case of Hasina these verdicts could not be considered. Because though Tarique and Huda were given bail on health grounds they had not been on parole.
 
Additional attorney general Mansur Habib had said at the hearing, "They've moved for her bail on 'health grounds' and submitted her medical report for June as a support document. Sheikh Hasina is currently on parole for medical treatment. Hence bail not admissible."
 
The court said the law did not specifically say that the accused would have to be present at the court at the time of bail prayer.
 
Habib said she had to be under the jurisdiction of the court, had to be present in Bangladesh. Besides her bail had been sought on political consideration. The court could give bail on political considerations.
 
The court said whatever was said in the bail petition must be within the framework of law, which had no relation with political considerations. However, she must be in the country.
 
Barrister Huq had said Hasina needed bail on health grounds and argued that it could not be that bail could be refused if the accused was outside the country or not present in the court when the bail was sought.
 
Hasina had been granted bail while she was abroad in Azam Jahangir Chowdhury corruption case. There was no obstruction in granting her bail on health grounds.
 
After last week's final hearing, barrister Huq said, "I went up to ask the government to grant Hasina bail in Noor Ali extortion case. But the government lawyers vehemently opposed our move."
 
"We advocated that Hasina is on parole, the polls are at hand. She should return home as a free person, hence the bail petition," said Huq.
 
"I'm trying to seat the two leaders together to discuss issues. The law adviser advised me in the morning to move for Hasina's bail, but the government lawyers are opposing this, which is controversial."
 
"If the government holds on to opposing Hasina's bail, she will very much have the right to refuse to talk to the BNP chairperson, as Khaleda is on bail and she's been paroled for treatment."
 
Habib told reporters that Hasina had gone abroad on parole, she could seek bail on her return home.
 
On June 13, 2007, chairman of Unique Group Noor Ali filed the Tk 5 crore extortion case against Hasina, her cousin Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and his wife Rupa Chowdhury.
 
The High Court had given Hasina bail on August 7, 2007 after she petitioned the court for bail. But the Appellate Division on August 27 overturned the bail order.
 
She was arrested from her Dhanmondi home on July 16, 2007 and paroled on June 11 this year.
 
Hasina is expected to return home after Oct 17, a senior party leader said on Sunday.
 
The bail petitions for Hasina in Niko and barge-mounted power plants corruption cases were presented before the High Court bench of Justice Md Anwarul Haq and Justice Jubayer Rahman Chowdhury.
 
Hasina's lawyer Sheikh Fazle Nur Tapash has told journalists the hearing of the two appeals may be held on Tuesday.
 
Hasina filed petitions in the two cases on Sept. 22. A High Court bench returned the bail prayers the following day.

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