Bangladeshi opposition leader’s doctor fears for her life

Dhaka, Nov 29 (EFE).-Doctors treating ailing Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia Friday said they feared for her life unless the government allowed her to fly abroad for urgent medical care.

The 76-year old former prime minister has been diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and suffered from internal bleeding in the past two weeks.

“We do not have the means and supportive technology… here to control and stop rebleeding,” her chief physician Fakhruddin Mohammad Siddiqui told reporters.

Siddiqui said the kind of treatment Zia required was only available “in few advance centers in the US, the UK and Germany.”

The government released Zia, the chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and suspended her jail sentences in two graft cases in March 2020.

The government ordered her to stay home and not leave the country.

The political rival of incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has since refrained from any political activities.

Her elder son Tarique Rahman, exiled in London since 2008 and been convicted in several cases, is the acting party chairman in the absence of his mother.

Zia has been in a Dhaka hospital since Nov.13, just five months after recovering from Covid-19.

The BNP has been demanding the government release her and allow her to travel for treatment.

Zia’s family also appealed to the government to relax the conditions of her release.

Law Minister Anisul Huq told reporters last week that Zia must return to jail and make a fresh application for the appeal to be considered.

The BNP accused the government of making her suffer out of political vengeance.

“It is political vindictiveness… the intention of the prime minister is clear. She wants the BNP chairperson to suffer,” BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told EFE.

“The government can easily allow her to travel by relaxing or withdrawing the conditions of her release.”

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 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 amid alleged fraud and persecution by the ruling disposition.

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