Hasina returns to Bangladesh

Former PM lands at Dhaka airport after government lifts ban on her return.

    Hasina was turned away from a flight in London
    last week [Reuters]
    Hasina's aides greeted her at the airport with flowers. Dozens of other supporters gathered outside the tightly guarded airport to cheer her.
     
    From their airport she travelled directly to her home. Few of her supporters were able to turn out to greet her after the government declared a state of emergency.
     
    Election rigging
     
    The authorities had accused Hasina of making "inflammatory statements" about the country's interim government while abroad, and warned that her return might create further confusion and incite divisions among the public.
     
    Hasina, who was prime minister between 1996 and 2001, was charged with abetting murder on April 11 while she was in the US on a personal visit.
     
    The murder charge involves the deaths of four protesters during a riot in October at one of a series of demonstrations by her Awami League party.
     
    Protesters accused then-prime minister Khaleda Zia's government of influencing the committee that was supposed to oversee January elections and of rigging electoral rolls.
     
    At least 34 people died in weeks of protests. Hasina and her Awami League have dismissed the charges as "farcical," and Hasina has said she would face the charges in court.
     
    A bitter feud between the two major political camps ahead of the led to the deadly street protests, which led the interim government to cancel the polls and declare a state of emergency.
     
    No new election date has been announced, but Fakhruddin Ahmed, head of the interim government, recently said he hoped polls would be held before the end of 2008.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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