Hasina in court, hearing resumes
Wednesday, 09 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina was taken to court Tuesday morning for the proceedings of an extortion case against her. A Dhaka court resumed proceedings on the extortion case filed against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina, sister Sheikh Rehana and their cousin Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim.
Defence lawyers asked for dismissal of charges against the accused.

Hasina's lawyers Golam Arif Tipu and Shafique Ahmed pleaded for their client to be cleared of charges.
Advocate Syed Rezaur Rahman, lawyer for Sheikh Selim, presented reasons to the court for release of his client.

He told the court: "The case was recorded over seven years after the incident had happened. But no cause was shown for the delay." The arguments continued until 12:00 noon.

Hasina was produced before the court on the Sangsad Bhaban premises at 9:35 am.
Metropolitan sessions judge Md Azizul Haque began the hearing minutes later.
Hasina's cousin, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, had been taken to court earlier at 9:00 am.
Hasina's lawyers were in doubt whether she would be able to appear in court. She was looking weary on her way to the hearing amid tight security.

Hasina fell sick on Dec 31 while in the dock. Later, the court of metropolitan sessions judge Md Azizul Haque ordered that she be sent back to the special jail. Since then, she has not attended court proceedings.

Four personal physicians Sunday appealed to the chief adviser and the home secretary to send Hasina to the United Sates for better treatment.

They said in the appeal that Hasina was suffering from high blood pressure, headaches and trouble in the ear and kidney. They also mentioned gynaecological problems.

Hasina is faced with charges of extorting Tk 3 crore from businessman Azam Jahangir Chowdhury during her term in 1996-2001. Hasina's sister Sheikh Rehana and their cousin Sheikh Selim are also accused in the case. They have denied the charges.

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