Khaleda Zia free for six months to undergo medical treatment

Opposition leader Khaleda Zia has been freed from jail by the government of Bangladesh on March 24 for six months so as to get medical treatment. Khaleda Zia has been in prison for last two years. She has been sentenced to 10 years in jail on graft charges, and also faces nearly three dozen other outstanding cases.

Khaleda Zia’s brother and sister filed an appeal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to let her political rival fly to London for treatment, said Law and Justice Minister Anisul Huq. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has nodded in the affirmative but with certain restrictions.

Law and Justice Minister Anisul Huq said that though the 74-year old Khaleda Zia has been granted a bail of six months, she would not be allowed to go to another country.

“On the basis of the application and having been directed by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Begum Khaleda Zia’s conviction has been suspended,” Huq said. He added, she is freed “on condition that she remains in her Dhaka residence to receive treatment and does not go abroad”.

The political rivalry of the families of Hasina and Zia is quite well known in Bangladesh, and both families have dominated the country’s political scenario since independence in 1971.

While Begum Zia has already had two knee replacement operations, a recent leaked medical report on Zia’s health said her rheumatoid arthritis was becoming increasingly serious and her lawyers argued that she could die in prison in absence of proper treatment.

“As a result of combined active disease and accompanied damage she is, at present, at a crippled state and largely dependent on assistance for her day-to-day activities,” the report said.

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