Hasina may get parole for treatment in US

April 3rd, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, April 3 (IANS) Bangladesh’s jailed former prime minister Sheikh Hasina may be released on parole to facilitate her departure for the US for medical treatment, ending a long medico-political tussle with the interim government. Detained on graft charges since July 2007, Hasina has been ailing and may leave for the US within a week, The Daily Star said Thursday quoting unnamed leaders of her Awami League (AL).

To put pressure on the government that had at one stage shown unwillingness to make an exception to her and send her abroad for treatment, the party last week announced a nationwide agitation beginning mid-April.

“Everything will be finalised in this regard within four to five days,” said a senior AL leader who did not want to be named.

Talks on the issue are now going on between the authorities and Hasina and some other party leaders, the party official said.

Sources said some members of the AL chief’s family, party leaders and a group of foreign diplomats are in close contact with the authorities to facilitate her going to the US for treatment.

Once the authorities and the former prime minister reach a consensus over her release on parole and some other conditions, then everything would be sorted out within a few days, the sources said.

Hasina was taken to the private Square Hospital again Wednesday morning for an eye check-up and brought back to the special jail after nearly three hours, New Age newspaper said.

Hasina, 62, has been ailing with blood pressure and an eye problem. Plus, her hearing was damaged when militants attacked her at a party rally in August 2004.

She collapsed in the court some weeks ago complaining of high blood pressure and the government’s failure to give her proper medical attention.

The newspaper said the government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed was still undecided about releasing her on parole for sending her to the US.

This is linked with pre-conditions about her returning in time for the elections that the government promised for December this year.

“If she is sent to the US, then we have to move towards the election, giving up the present hard line,” said another senior AL leader.

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