The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party said on Wednesday that the verdict against BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman and his wife Zubaida Rahman was prescribed and made to keep political opponents out of elections.

This is another example of an illegal Awami government’s prescribed verdict. No one thought that the sentencing of BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman and his wife Zubaida Rahman in the Dhaka Metropolitan Special Session Judge Court today [Wednesday] would be an exceptional case of Awami misrule. This is another example of partisanship in the judiciary,’ BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a press conference.

The party organised the press conference at the BNP chairperson’s office in Gulshan to give a formal reaction to the court verdict that jailed Tarique and Zubaida for nine and three years, respectively, in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission during the 2007-08 army-backed caretaker government on charges of amassing illegal wealth.

‘There was no doubt about the sentence that Tarique and his wife would be given. In the Awami authoritarian regime, the head of the government is proceeding with a blueprint to eliminate the main leaders of the opposition party by using the state machinery,’ he said, adding that the Awami League government clinging to state power does not want any opponents.

‘The head of the government wants to keep her unopposed. That is why political leaders are determined to eliminate their opponents by taking the courts and the administration into their own hands. Today, this formal judgement is part of a continuous conspiracy to nullify the country’s democracy,’ Fakhrul added.

He said that false cases against BNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, the party’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman, and millions of BNP leaders and activists across the country were filed only to perpetuate the neo-Bakshali misrule.

That is why the courts are being used as a repression tool of the Awami League’s fascism against BNP leaders and activists, he said.

He said that, surprisingly, the court completed the trial against Tarique and Zubaida within a month.

This judgement is a big proof of Sheikh Hasina’s instructions; although there are about 49 lakh cases in the court, the proceedings, in this case, were completed at the speed of light, he said.‘For a month, 42 witnesses presented their arguments at a rapid pace,’ he said.He said that former judge Motahar Hossain could no longer stay in the country because he acquitted Tarique.

Former chief justice SK Sinha was physically assaulted and thrown out of the country at ‘gunpoint’ when he spoke out against government interference in the judiciary, Fakhrul said.

Strongly condemning and protesting the verdict against Tarique and Zubaida, Fakhrul called for the immediate withdrawal of the sentence against them in false cases.