Dhaka: A Bangladeshi court on Wednesday denied bail to 33 opposition leaders, including the BNP`s acting secretary general, charged with masterminding violence during anti-government strike last month that left five people dead.
The leaders of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and it`s alliance partners were sent to jail after they were denied bail at the heavily guarded court complex at downtown Dhaka.
BNP activists turned violent after the court order when Party`s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and other leaders were whisked to prison vans which took them to high security Dhaka Central jail under heavy security escorts.
Alamgir and the others surrendered before the court in line with a High Court directive after they were charged for masterminding violence particularly for torching a passenger bus in front of prime minister`s office during an opposition enforced nationwide stoppage on April 29.
The other leaders included BNP stalwarts and former ministers Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, MK Anwar MP, Brigadier General (retd) Hannan Shah, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy and former mayors of Dhaka Sadeque Hossain Khoka and Mirza Abbas.
The court, however, ordered the "division" or privileged status inside the prison for the leaders.
Witnesses said the opposition leaders` counsels including Moudud Ahmed and Barrister Rafiqul Islam Mia told the court that the case against the 18-party leaders was "politically motivated and false" as they sought their bail order.
But, public prosecutor Abu Abdullah vehemently opposed their argument saying their prayer should be rejected as the accused masterminded crimes like arson to destabilise the country in the name of political movement.
The prosecution lawyer said five people lost their lives as the opposition enforced nationwide stoppage and if granted bail they would carryout subversive activities in the name of the anti-government street campaign.