Bangladesh Court stays Hasina extortion case due to her illness

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Dhaka, Jan 6 (UNI) A Bangladesh court today adjourned the hearing on the charge framing in the Tk 2.99 crore extortion case against detained Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina and two others till Tuesday due to her illness.

The makeshift court, set up on the Sangsad Bhaban premises, deferred the charge framing hearing following a jail authority report that said she was unable to attend the court due to her sickness, the Daily Star reported.

The former prime minister fell sick in court on December 31 and was taken to jail. Her lawyers and physicians said she was suffering from high blood pressure and eye and ear problems.

The two other co-accused include Ms Hasina's younger sister Sheikh Rehana, who lives in London, and their detained cousin and former health minister Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim.

On June 13, Azam J Chowdhury, managing director of a power company, filed the case with Gulshan Police Station accusing Hasina and Selim. Ms Rehana's name was later included in the charge sheet as the investigation officer found her involvement in the case.

Reacting to the news, acting president of Awami League Zillur Rahman said Ms Hasina may agree to go abroad for her treatment 'unconditionally'.

''I don't think she will agree to go abroad on conditions,'' Daily Star quoted him as saying. In reply to a question, Mr Zillur said if doctors recommend her treatment abroad and the government agrees on that 'unconditionally, she may be willing to go.

''She is now in absolute solitary confinement,'' he said, adding that her health condition is deteriorating.

Demanding her immediate release, the party leader said ''her life is now at risk.'' UNI XC RJ AS157

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