Hasina freed for medical treatment abroad

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{image-sheik hasina_11062008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Dhaka, Jun 11: After a long legal and political battle, Bangladesh's former prime minister Sheikh Hasina was released today for an interim period to enable her medical treatment abroad.

Ms Hasina, who was Prime Minister from 1996-2001, was arrested on July 16 last year in connection with a corruption case during the anti-corruption crackdown by the incumbent military-backed caretaker government. She was released this afternoon for two months till August 6 from a makeshift jail in highly secured Parliament building complex, where another former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has been detained for corruption cases. Witnesses said thousands of people and party workers gathered around the complex, greeting Ms Hasina, who drove straight to her Dhanmondi residence amidst tight security.

Last night, Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed signed the executive order for her release.

Ms Hasina, 61, has been suffering from acute problems in her ears and eyes following deadly grenade attacks on her public rally in Dhaka on August 21, 2004.

She was likely to fly for London tomorrow en route to the US and Canada for treatment for her ears and eyes.

On Monday, special courts exempted her from attendance during trial proceedings in four corruption cases following applications from her lawyers.

A medical board set up by the government advised her treatment abroad as her hearing aid became dysfunctional. After the grenade blasts from which Ms Hasina narrowly escaped, she went to the US for her ears' treatment.

The order said the government decided to release Ms Hasina for an interim period of two months from today till August 6 for medical treatment abroad following recommendations by a medical board.

It said the government could cancel the order any time without assigning any reason.

UNI

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