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BD Opp leader hospitalised

By AFP
April 02, 2019

DHAKA: Bangladesh's jailed opposition leader Khaleda Zia was taken to hospital in Dhaka on Monday for tests, said her lawyer, who described the two-time former prime minister as "deteriorating day by day".

Zia, a chief rival of Bangladesh's premier Sheikh Hasina, was sentenced last year to a decade in prison on corruption charges her supporters say are politically motivated. The 73-year-old, who is diabetic and suffers from arthritis, was also hospitalised in October for treatment.

Her lawyer, Masud Ahmed Talukder, said her condition had worsened inside the 19th-century prison where she is the sole inmate. "She is extremely ill. Her condition is deteriorating day by day," her lawyer Masud Ahmed Talukder told AFP.

"That's why the authorities decided to admit her to hospital." Zia, clad in sunglasses and a pink head scarf, was transferred to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University under heavy police guard and taken by wheelchair into the facility.

The hospital's director, Brigadier General Mahbubul Haq, said Zia was admitted in a weak condition and would undergo tests and treatment. "She is diabetic. She is weak and has lost her appetite for food," he told AFP, adding she was also suffering from arthritis.

Zia was admitted to hospital in October also suffering from ill health. Her supporters say the government was putting her welfare at risk housing her in Dhaka Central Jail, a formerly abandoned prison where she was sentenced by a special court for graft.

Zia leads the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the main opposition party whose supporters and candidates were harassed and detained by security forces ahead of a national election in December.