Politics, Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh extends opposition head’s conditional release

BNP Chair Khaleda Zia will stay out of jail for another 6 months, but is barred from going abroad, even for medical treatment

SM Najmus Sakib   | 19.09.2021
Bangladesh extends opposition head’s conditional release

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh on Sunday extended the conditional release of opposition chief Khaleda Zia by another six months after her family members filed an appeal to the government.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chair, however, will not be permitted to visit foreign countries during this period, including for health checkups, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters in the capital Dhaka.

Earlier, her family members filed an appeal that Zia has been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ophthalmological, and dental complications, so she needs her jail term further suspended and better treatment abroad.

Law Minister Anisul Huq, however, told the media that Zia will have to return to jail first and then could appeal for a fresh release to seek permission to go abroad.

Zia, 75, is currently living in a rented house in Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan area. The three-time premier's prison sentence was suspended last March during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2018 she was given a 17-year sentence on dozens of graft charges. Her party and lawyers, however, claim those cases are politically motivated.

The government, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, has rejected the allegations.

Zia is the widow of assassinated former President Ziaur Rahman and is now receiving treatment at home under the supervision of a government hospital.

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