Professor Ghulam Azam’s poor conditions in his cell at the BSMMU hospital prison have sparked controversy since his imprisonment without the option of bail on January 11th. On Monday his wife, Syeda Afifa Azam, gave a statement which was published by several newspapers, expressing concern that the 89-year old was suffering from a poor diet and lack of care and support. She spoke of an incident in which the former Jamaat-e-Islami leader was incapacitated for half an hour on the bathroom floor before receiving attention. After this statement, he was allowed an attendant to look after him.
On Saturday afternoon, Azam received a 30 minute visit from his wife, son and daughter-in-law. After the visit, they gave further statements on their shock at Azam’s treatment at the hands of the International Crimes Tribunal.
Azam’s son, Abdullahil Aman Azmi, gave a statement as follows:
“My father is mentally healthy. He has often said in the past that he fears nothing but God. Physically, however, he is gradually becoming weak. His voice has become low. Before going to prison, his weight was 72kg. Last week his weight was 70kg. This week it has gone down by another kilogram.
“We all know the extent of nursing that is needed by someone who is 90 years old. My father still does not receive this kind of care. He is also not getting a balanced diet, which he needs. He likes to eat a variety of foods. But he is not being given this type of diet. He is not receiving food according to his wishes. His eyesight is weakening. Last week his knee was injured, and this wound has not yet healed.
“He has been praying for the country, for the country’s people. He asks for the prayers of the people of Bangladesh.”
On behalf of his family, Abdullahil Aman Azmi asked for the people of Bangladesh to pray for his father’s physical health and his release from prison.
Azam’s wife, Syeda Afifa Azam, also made a statement on Saturday:
“Since the 11th January my husband, Professor Ghulam Azam, has been imprisoned and from that day he has been receiving medical treatment in BSMMU’s ‘prison cell’. We are extremely worried about his health. Today after meeting him in February our anxiety has become horror.
“My husband has been imprisoned for 25 days now. Before he was arrested on the 11th January his weight was 72kg. Last week we found out that his weight was 70[kg]. It seemed even less when I saw him today. In the last 25 days I have managed to see him four times. Every single time I thought that he was becoming steadily weaker. Today [Saturday] he seemed even more dismal. Due to his weakness, he was finding it difficult to speak, his voice was low and his speech was indistinct. This is why I feel extremely scared about my husband’s life.”
Professor Ghulam Azam’s bail petition is to be filed on Monday on grounds of old age and poor health, his first application having been rejected when he was arrested in January. The hearing of the bail petition is expected on Tuesday.