Hasina agrees to forego medical treatment abroad

February 20th, 2008 - 12:38 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, Feb 20 (IANS) Bangladesh’s former prime minister Sheikh Hasina, in jail on corruption charges and ailing for long, has agreed to be treated in a hospital here instead of going abroad. Her supporters fear that she may not be allowed to return, as had been attempted in April last year, once she leaves the country.

Through her lawyer, Hasina Tuesday told a court that she is willing to be treated at a local hospital. Her trial in a graft case has been postponed to Feb 26.

Hasina’s lawyer quoted her as saying: “Now I think it would be better for me to get admitted to hospital.”

Hasina’s counsel Fazle Noor Taposh, also her nephew, suggested to her that she get admitted to a private hospital in the city’s posh Gulshan area.

Hasina, 61, looked pale in the courtroom Tuesday because of several health complications. She told the lawyers that her hands had swelled because of allergies, the New Age newspaper said Wednesday.

She also complained against the authorities of the special jail set up in the parliament complex.

“When I ask the jail authorities for treatment, they do not respond,” Hasina was quoted as saying by her counsel Quamrul Islam.

The jail authorities have reportedly tried to persuade Hasina to receive treatment in any hospital. They have also reportedly engaged Hasina’s personal physician A.B.M. Abdullah, the medicine department chair at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, to convince her, the newspaper said.

Hasina has so far tried in vain to get legal aide from abroad.

President of US Jurist Association’s Canada Chapter William Sloan termed the trial in a graft case “not a public trial” after he was barred from entering the special court.

Sloan arrived in Bangladesh on a visitor visa last week. The authorities say he requires special permission to either meet Hasina or attend her trial.

Hasina, prime minister during 1996-2001, has denied all of the graft charges, alleging that they are meant to keep her in detention and eventually disqualify her from contesting elections that are likely to take place later this year.

Besides a number of corruption cases, she is also facing a murder charge, all of which she says are politically motivated.

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