Bangladesh speaker urges release of detained opposition MPs

Bangladesh`s parliamentary speaker urged courts to release 2 detained lawmakers of opposition BNP after "due legal consideration" since party would join coming session after protracted abstentions.

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s parliamentary speaker on Saturday urged courts to release two detained lawmakers of main opposition BNP after "due legal consideration" since the party would join the coming session after protracted abstentions.
"The matter is directly under the authority of the court. But as the speaker, I can humbly request the court to consider their release as the budget session is nearing," newsportal BDnews24.Com quoted the newly-elected speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury as saying.

Choudhury urged the courts to review legal options so the detained BNP MPs could join the session which begins on Monday as finance minister AMA Muhith was set to place the last budget of the incumbent Awami League-led grand alliance government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The speaker`s call came as an opposition delegation earlier sought her intervention for unconditional release of the senor BNP leaders MK Anwar and Barkatullah Bulu before the budget session.

Senior Awami League leader and ruling alliance spokesman Mohammad Nasim at a press conference yesterday had also advocated the release of the opposition lawmakers as they were not faced with any "serious allegation".

The two MPs were detained at different times in recent weeks along with several other opposition leaders as BNP and its rightwing allies were spearheading a massive street campaign demanding restoration of the now scrapped caretaker government system for election oversight.

Since election of the ruling Awami League in 2008, BNP boycotted almost all the parliament sessions.

But the constitution obligates the party to join the coming session to retain seats which it may lose after 90 consecutive days of abstention.

The opposition earlier said it expected to join the coming parliament session as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina repeatedly proposed dialogue with BNP to resolve differences over the electoral system.