Bangladesh
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Khaleda must return to jail if she wants to go abroad

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia would have to return to jail and get permission from the court if she wanted to go abroad for treatment.

Hasina, who was in the US then, made the remarks in an interview with Voice of America (VoA) Bangla.

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Asked if Hasina would reconsider sending Khaleda abroad for better treatment, the premier said, "I ask which country in the world was able to send a convict abroad for treatment. Will any country allow it?"

"If they want to [take Khaleda abroad], they'll have to go back to the court. They will have to get permission from the court. There is no scope for us to interfere with any operation of the court," she said.

"But yes, what, as a government, I could do for her was -- suspend her jail sentence and allow her to stay at home and arrange her treatment. She's now receiving treatment at the most expensive hospital in Bangladesh."

"But if they have to go abroad, now that I have given her permission to stay home, I will have to withdraw it. She has to return to jail and go to court. They have to appeal to the court. If the court rules, she can go. That's the reality."

In response to a question on the US visa sanction, Hasina said she questioned the logic behind the move when her government ensured all rights, including the voting rights of the people, reports UNB.

"We, the Awami League, have fought for the right to vote; the people of our country shed blood to establish their right to vote. We have taken all the necessary measures to ensure a fair and free election.

"Today they [US] are imposing sanctions; they may impose more sanctions in the future… It's up to them. The rights of our country's people -- their voting rights, fundamental rights, and rights to live -- have been established," she said.

Hasina also said that there is no problem if the US prevents the people's entry to the country, as there are sufficient employment opportunities in Bangladesh now.

Regarding human rights violation allegations, she said members of law enforcement agencies, whether Rab or police, are tried under law in Bangladesh for wrongdoings.

Narrating the development of the country, the prime minister said Bangladesh has changed a lot between 2009 and 2023. "There is no famine in Bangladesh. The unemployment rate has reduced; it now stands at 3 percent."

"Bangladesh is now digitalised. People have internet access. Electricity is available at every house, and roads and other infrastructures have been developed so that people can earn their livelihood, prioritising vocational education," she said.