Bangladesh opposition leader tests Covid-19 positive

Dhaka, Apr 11 (EFE).– Former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia has tested positive for Covid-19, a health ministry spokesperson said Sunday.

“She gave a sample for the test yesterday (Saturday) and the result came today. It is positive,” Maidul Islam told EFE.

Zia’s office, however, denied the report.

“We have been told by her personal physician that she had only a regular health check-up Saturday. There was no Covid-19 test,” her spokesperson Shyrul Kabir Khan told EEE.

The former prime minister, convicted in two corruption cases, was released on parole for six months on Mar.25, 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her parole was later extended twice.

The government put two conditions before agreeing to her release that she would receive treatment at home and would not leave the country.

Zia, the chairperson of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has been living in her Dhaka home since her release and has refrained from joining any political activities.

The 74-year-old politician has been serving prison terms of 17 years from 2018 when a court found her guilty of graft and power abuse when she was the prime minister between 1991-1996 and 2001-2006.

In February 2018, a special court sentenced Zia to five years in jail for misappropriating funds worth $200,000 meant for an orphanage.

The High Court doubled her sentence from five to 10 years in October 2018 following an appeal by the country’s anti-corruption agency.

A court earlier sent her to jail for seven years in a separate graft case.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League had secured a landslide victory in general elections held on Dec 30, 2019.

The BNP could only secure seven seats and alleged fraud and persecution by the ruling disposition.

The BNP and the Awami League have taken turns to power since 1991, except for a brief period of military rule between 2006-08. EFE


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