The government has turned down BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's plea to go abroad for better treatment, citing legal bindings.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Sunday said there was no scope to allow Khaleda to go abroad for treatment under the law that had been applied to suspend her sentence earlier.
"That is why we could not grant the appeal," he told a press briefing.
He added that the law ministry had said "no" to the appeal also because a convict seeking medical treatment abroad was unprecedented.
Law Minister Anisul Huq said the same, pointing out that the BNP chief would not be allowed to go abroad as she is a convict.
He told reporters on Sunday a decision had been made already and proceedings under Section 401 of the Penal Code had ended.
"There is no chance to reopen it. Hence, there is no opportunity to grant the appeal."
Earlier in the day, the law ministry's decision reached the home ministry.
Khaleda's younger brother Shamim Eskander took the appeal to the home minister's Dhanmondi residence on 5 May. It was then sent to the law ministry.
Law and Justice Division Secretary Md Golam Sarwar later took it to the Banani residence of the law minister the following day.
The law minister told reporters at the time the government was considering the appeal with compassion.
Khaleda's sister Selima Islam said the BNP chairperson would first be taken to Singapore by a chartered flight or an air ambulance if the government granted the appeal.
She said Khaleda might be taken to the UK or Saudi Arabia from Singapore. Khaleda and her family's first choice was the UK.
Khaleda, also a former prime minister, tested positive for Covid-19 on 11 April. A second test result on 24 April also came out positive.
She was admitted to Evercare Hospital in the capital on 27 April. As she suffered breathing problems on 3 May, doctors transferred her to the coronary care unit.
Since then, she has been receiving treatment there under the supervision of a 10-member medical board led by the hospital's cardiac specialist Shahabuddin Talukder. She is receiving oxygen support and insulin. She has also recovered from Covid-19.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a virtual press briefing on Sunday Khaleda's condition was improving.
On 8 February 2016, Khaleda Zia was sentenced to five years in prison in a corruption case over the Zia Orphanage Trust. Later, she was also sentenced in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. There are 34 more cases against her.
Having served 25 months of the 17-year prison sentence in two corruption cases, Khaleda Zia was released on 25 March last year. The suspension of her jail sentence was extended twice.
Khaleda's sentence was suspended last year under Section 401 of the Penal Code. She was released on two conditions – she would not be able to travel abroad and she must receive treatment at home.