Tarique Rahman is being targeted to distract BNP's one-point demand in other directions, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said.
"Why this ruling at this time? Now that the countrymen clearly stated the demand, the demand for your [Sheikh Hasina] resignation, the ruling against Tarique Rahman came to divert the one-point movement in other directions," Fakhrul said.
He made these statements at a rally as the chief guest at National Press Club on Saturday, organised by Sammilita Peshajibi Parishad.
"People of the country are struggling today for the right to vote and the right to live," Fakhrul said.
He added, "Tarique Rahman is not only a leader, he is the leader of the 18 crore people of this country in their struggle for freedom."
Fakhrul accused the government of destroying the electoral system and destroying the people's freedom.
"They won't be given the same chance this time. All the parties are united now," he said.
He also denounced the government's attacks on party leaders and activists. "I saw 48 bullet marks on the body of a student leader, his hands and feet were beaten with a hammer - is this called democracy?"
A Dhaka court on 1 August sentenced BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman to nine years in jail and his wife Zubaida Rahman to three years in a case filed over illegally amassing wealth and concealing property information.
The court has issued new arrest warrants against them along with the sentence.
Besides, the court also ordered the seizure of Tk2.74 crore property owned by Tarique and Zubaida, both currently absconding.
With his latest conviction, Tarique has been sentenced for the fifth time while Zobaida for the first time.
According to the verdict, Tarique has also been fined Tk3 crore. Failure to pay the fine will result in a three-month extension of his imprisonment.
Furthermore, Zubaida Rahman has been fined Tk35 lakh, non-payment of which will result in a one-month extension of her jail sentence.
The judgement will come into effect after they surrender to a court or are arrested.