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Central & South Asia
Bangladeshi ex-PM released
Sheikh Hasina travels abroad for medical treatment despite facing trial.
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2008 06:48 GMT

Hasina held talks with ministers after her release, but she will be tried in absentia [AFP]

Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the former Bangladeshi prime minister, has left the country, after she was released from detention on graft charges.
 
Airport police said the Awami League party leader, who was held on corruption charges for almost a year, left Zia International Airport on Thursday on a flight for London.
"The flight carrying Sheikh Hasina took off at around 8.25am (0225 GMT),"  Ruhul Amin, the airport police chief, said.
 
From London she will travel to the United States to have medical treatment for hearing problems.
Bangladesh's emergency army-backed government gave permission for Hasina, who led the country from 1996 to 2001, to be released - albeit with the charges still in place.
 
The government is trying to end a stalemate with the two main political parties, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
 
Hasina asked for permission on Sunday to allow lawyers to appear on her behalf in court, after a government-appointed medical board suggested she should be sent abroad immediately for treatment.
 
"Trap"

Zia has said the move to allow foreign travel
could be a trap [EPA]
Both the Awami League and the BNP had refused to hold talks to plan for an election at the end of the year because their respective leaders, Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia, were detained.
 
Hasina was arrested in July by Bangladesh's interim government and faces at least four graft charges.
 
Zia, another former prime minister, has accused the government of trying to set a trap by allowing the leaders to travel abroad.
 
The government could block Hasina or Zia's return were they to leave the county.
 
Zia said that she would not seek medical treatment abroad, despite a medical board saying that she should travel for treatment for arthritis and knee problems.
 
Hasina held talks with four government ministers after her release on Wednesday evening, but she will be tried in absentia.
Source:
Agencies
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