Former Bangladesh premier Hasina wants medical treatment in US


Dhaka : The “medico-political” standoff between Bangladesh’s caretaker government and the politicians it has detained on corruption charges is showing signs of abatement.

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Even as the Awami league general secretary Abdul Jalil flew to Singapore Monday night for medical treatment, the ailing party chief and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina said she was ready to go to the US.

In jail since July 16, Hasina accused the jail authorities of being “cold and uncaring” about her health and told her counsels and relatives that she wanted to be treated in the US.

Hasina, 61, has recently shown signs of illness, including high blood pressure, causing postponement of her court trial.

However, she has displayed lack of faith in any government-given treatment and her supporters say she fears “foul play”. After a long tussle, she went for a check-up last month at a private nursing home.

Hasina, however, welcomed the government’s decision to send her political aide, Abdul Jalil, to Singapore, after being released on parole for 30 days.

Through her counsel Sahera Khatun, she expressed he willingness to go to the US.

Recent media reports have said Hasina fears that once out of the country, she would not be allowed to return.

The caretaker government had prevented her return from the US last April, but relented after one week because of an international outcry.

Hasina’s readiness to leave for the US was accompanied by her party demanding that she be released immediately and without preconditions.

Like Hasina, her rival Khaleda Zia, 62, and her two sons, Tarique and Arafat, are in jail on corruption charges. They are fighting a series of court battles.

All of them have denied the charges, calling them politically motivated. They are among the 200-odd politicians being prosecuted on corruption charges.

According to Khatun, Hasina told her counsels and relatives that the jail authorities had not given her medicines, which she ran out of three days back.

Although she was taken to Square Hospital, she was not allowed to talk freely to the doctors about her health complications, said her counsels, adding that despite the request for a specialist physician for her treatment, the jail authorities had sent a junior doctor to attend on Hasina.

Hasina also said she would go for legal action against five prison officials, including the inspector general and deputy inspector general, for not allowing her close relatives to meet her every fortnight as per the jail code, The Daily Star said Monday.