Bangladesh opposition protests move to bring back Zia`s son

Khaleda Zia`s son, Arafat Rahman Koko, is undergoing a treatment in Thailand.

Dhaka: Leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) held a nationwide demonstration on Sunday against the government`s move to bring back their leader Khaleda Zia`s son from Thailand where he is undergoing treatment after his parole in 2008. He was arrested for alleged corruption.

Arafat Rahman Koko`s parole, granted in 2008, was cancelled last Friday by the government that asked him to "surrender" before a court by August 31.

Requesting anonymity, an official of the ruling Awami League told The Daily Star newspaper that they would not allow Koko, and Zia`s elder son Tarique Rahman to "become heroes".

Tarique, also wanted in corruption cases, has been in London since November 2008, on medical grounds. Both the sons of the opposition leader were granted parole by the then caretaker government that held Parliamentary Elections. Zia lost the election, while Hasina won a landslide victory.

The government cancelled Koko`s parole saying he was not reporting to the Bangladesh embassy in Thailand as required under the parole rules. He is reportedly undergoing treatment for respiratory problems.

Koko`s lawyer AM Mahabubuddin Khokon had submitted old medical certificates of November 2009, prompting the government`s move.

Khokon, however, denied this and on Saturday submitted fresh medical certificates and asked for the extension of the parole.

"We have again appealed for the extension of his parole to allow him to continue to take treatment abroad until his condition improves. His condition is still critical... The parole is necessary to save his life," Khokon told New Age newspaper.

Mahbubul Alam Hanif, special assistant to Hasina, told The Daily Star the government "cannot allow Koko to lead a luxurious life abroad on smuggled money after the violation of parole conditions".


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