Anadolu: Bangladesh on Sunday barred ailing opposition leader and two-time prime minister Khaleda Zia from traveling abroad for treatment
Law Minister Anisul Huq said no to an appeal forwarded by Zia’s family, noting his ministry cannot allow her to travel overseas in line with existing law.
“The government has no opportunity to give legal permission. All work has to be done according to the legal framework. Bypassing the law, in any case, results in a bad example,” he told reporters in the capital Dhaka after attending an event.
Zia, 78, who is chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has been undergoing treatment at Evercare Hospital in Dhaka since Aug. 9 and suffers from various ailments including advanced liver cirrhosis, diabetes, a heart condition and breathing difficulties.
She received a 17-year prison sentence for graft in 2008 and was jailed for two years before being released under house arrest.
Huq further said that if Zia wants to go abroad, she would have to go back to prison and then apply to the court.
In an interview with Voice of America which aired Saturday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also said Zia must go back to prison before seeking approval for treatment abroad.
Zia's party, however, has rejected the court verdicts against her and demanded to send Zia abroad immediately, calling her condition severe.
In a virtual news conference following the Law Ministry’s decision, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi condemned the law minister’s opinion and demanded Zia’s immediate release.
Zia's personal physician Dr. AZM Zahid Hossain, recently told reporters that the medical board formed to treat Zia recommended a liver transplant and said she needs to be sent to an advanced multi-disciplinary center abroad as soon as possible.
The widow of assassinated former President Ziaur Rahman, Zia was convicted in two corruption cases.
On March 25, 2020 during the COVID pandemic, the government released her from prison through an executive order, suspending her sentence with the condition that she would remain in her home and not leave the country.
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