Family meets Khaleda in prison

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Family members, including siblings, have met BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at prison.

Amid heightened security across Bangladesh and nervous tension, the 72-year-old was convicted on Thursday of misappropriating foreign funds donated to an orphanage trust.

The former prime minister has been given a five-year term and kept at the old premises of Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road in Old Dhaka.

Around 3pm on Friday, Khaleda’s sister Selima Islam, brother Shamim Iskander, his wife Kaniz Fatema and son Avik Iskander arrived at the prison and sought to meet her.

They entered the jail premises half an hour later following the formalities, Deputy Inspector General (prisons) Md Touhidul Islam said.

The car carrying them was seen leaving the prison a little over one and half hours later, at 5:10pm.

With beefed up security measures on Nazimuddin Road, the members of the media could not speak with Khaleda’s family members.

A BNP leader, who accompanied them, told reporters then Iskander might speak with the media after visiting his sister.

But that did not happen as the media were not allowed beyond the security cordon, some 100 yards away from the prison gate.

Soon after the court delivered its verdict on Thursday, Khaleda was driven to the facility on Nazimuddin Road.

It’s located at a walking distance from the Fifth Special Judge’s Court of Dhaka at Bakhshibazar, which convicted her and is also hearing another graft case against her.

She is the lone inmate there as authorities have transferred prisoners to a new facility in Keraniganj around two years ago.

Prison authorities said that as a former premier, Khaleda is being treated as a Division 1 inmate at the facility which they describe as a ‘special jail’.

Security was tightened in and around the premises before the verdict was delivered on Thursday.

The street leading to the main entrance has been sealed off with barricades put up at least 100 yards away from both sides of the prison gate.