Khaleda appoints British lawyer to assist defence counsels

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DHAKA, March 20, 2018 (BSS) – Imprisoned BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia has appointed a British criminal lawyer to assist her counsels as she is fighting a series graft and criminal cases, party’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said here today.

“British lawyer Lord Carlile has been appointed to assist and provide consultations to her lawyers’ panel in fighting her cases,” he told a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.

Alamgir said Carlile, who was earlier hired by two major 1971 war criminals during their trial, accepted the appointment and “from now he will extend supports, provide consultations and necessary legal aids as much as he could” in defending the BNP chief and ex-premier.

Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Barrister Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar, Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, former attorney general AJ Mohammed Ali, Advocate Abdur Razzak Khan, Advocate Joynal Abedin and Barrister Kaisar Kamal currently lead Begum Zia’s defence team.

Asked if the Bangladeshi lawyers were not competent enough to fight her cases, Alamgir said Carlile was appointed to enrich “the defence panel and take the issue to the international arena.”

“Hiring a foreign lawyer does not mean Bangladeshi lawyers are incapable,” Alamgir said.

One of the defence counsels, Kamal, meanwhile, said Carlile, actually would work as the adviser of the lawyers panel as one of the most prominent lawyers of Britain and member of the British House of Lords.

Carlile earlier served as the counsels of convicted Mir Quasem Ali and Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, who subsequently were executed for committing crimes against humanity siding with the Pakistani troops in 1971.

As the Supreme Court upheld the ICT verdict against Quasem Ali, Carlile, on March 11, 2016, also wrote a letter to Bangladesh government seeking to halt their executions while he lobbied for creating international pressures for his clients.

A Dhaka court earlier on February 8 sentenced Begum Zia to five years imprisonment finding her guilty of embezzling foreign funds for an orphanage named after slain president Ziaur Rahman during her premiership in 2001-2007 tenure.

She, however, has appealed against the judgment in the High Court and a process was underway to hear her arguments, visibly prompting her to appoint the foreign lawyer.

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