Hasina seeks exemption from more court appearances
Saturday, 21 June 2008

Lawyers for former prime minister Sheikh Hasina asked a Dhaka court Thursday to exempt their client from personally appearing in hearings of an extortion case filed by businessman Azam J Chowdhury, reports bdnews24.com

Advocate Sahara Khatun, on behalf of the Awami League president, sought permission from special sessions judge Md Ashraf Hossain, who set July 2 to give his decision on the matter.

Lawyers for Hasina's cousin and co-accused in the case, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, also sought to exempt him from appearing in person in court.

The judge said he would give his decision after examination of case documents of the High Court in this regard.

The High Court on Feb 6 cancelled the extortion case, filed by businessman Azam J Chowdhury, declaring illegal the inclusion of the case under emergency powers rules.

The Supreme Court has since overruled the High Court order canceling the case, allowing it to proceed in trial court.

The case alleges the accused extorted around Tk 3 crore from the businessman in exchange for awarding a work permit in a power plant project during Hasina's term as prime minister.

The AL chief was detained from her Dhanmondi on July 16, and was shown arrested in the case that was included under EPR the same day.

Hasina has already been exempted from personal appearances in four separate graft cases against her, as she seeks medical treatment overseas.

The government on June 11 issued a temporary release order for the AL president allowing her to go abroad. She went to the US the next day.

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