Dhaka bars ex-PM from going abroad

Bangladesh's army-backed interim government charges Hasina with extortion.

     Hasina was barred in April from returning to Bangladesh from an earlier visit to the US [Reuters]


    Hasina's close associates said she had been planning to visit her son and daughter and their families in the United States.

    In April, Bangladesh's army-backed interim government, which is conducting a massive anti-corruption hunt to prepare for a free and fair election, barred Hasina from returning from an earlier visit to the United States.

    She was stranded in London for about two weeks, before local and international pressure forced Dhaka to lift the ban.

    Hasina returned to a warm welcome from thousands of members and supporters of her Awami League, who thronged the airport gates and roads leading to her home, defying a ban on gatherings under a state of emergency in force since January 11.

    Travel curb

    On Thursday, police blocked a planned trip by Hasina to the port city of Chittagong to visit survivors of landslides that have killed at least 122 people and injured about 100.

    "As the country is under a state of emergency and all sorts of politics are banned, we have asked Hasina not to go to Chittagong," a senior police officer said.

    Hasina branded the Chittagong ban as "inhuman, undemocratic, unconstitutional and against the freedom of [the] individual".

    Police filed two new cases against Hasina on Wednesday for extorting some 70 million taka [$1 million] from two businessmen.

    The government headed by former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed has run Bangladesh since January under emergency rules.

    It postponed an election planned for January 22 and banned all political activity following weeks of political violence.

    Hasina and her rival, Begum Khaleda Zia, the most recent prime minister and head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), blamed each other for the violence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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