The United States hopes due process will be followed after a special court in Dhaka issued arrest warrant for Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia, a top U.S. diplomat for South Asia said on Thursday. Nisha Biswal, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, told a news briefing the political tension needed to be addressed internally, but the United States stood ready to help, Reuters reported. ‘We do hope and expect there will be due process in terms of pursuing of any charges,’ Biswal said. ‘It’s also equally important that the government provides space for peaceful political opposition to be able to exist and to create an inclusive political process,’ she said. The anti-graft court’s warrants were over cases in which Khaleda is accused of embezzling $650,000 during her last term as prime minister from 2001 to 2006. Khaleda is also facing charges of instigating violence. However, the warrant issued by the Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-3 on Wednesday for arresting Khaleda was not served yet either to the deputy commissioner (prosecution) or the police station concerned, by the court, till Thursday evening. A court official confirmed to New Age that the warrant was ready to be served to the police station concerned, as the judge of the court, Abu Ahmed Jamadar, put his signature on the warrant on Thursday afternoon. Court officials and lawyers said that warrants relating to arrest of someone with an address in the capital are always sent to the office of deputy commissioner (prosecution) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, to be dispatched to the police station concerned for execution of the warrants. DC (prosecution) Anisur Rahman told New Age at about 7pm on Thursday that the warrant was yet to reach his office. Khaleda’s lawyer AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon at a press briefing on the Supreme Court Bar Association premises on Thursday said the government was ‘intimidating’ and ‘threatening’ the lawyers providing Khaleda with legal assistance. Khokon also said that lawyers were not being allowed to meet Khaleda at her office — where she has been ‘detained’ for 52 days — to hear her instruction on the next course of legal action following the issuance of the warrant.
Source: New Age