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Bangladesh ex-PM Hasina leaves for US
June 12, 2008 09:35 IST
Bangladesh's former premier Sheikh Hasina Wajed on Thursday left the country, a day after she was "temporary" released under an apparent deal cut with the military-backed government following 11 months in detention on graft charges.
Thousands of party activists crowded Dhaka's Zia International Airport where the 60-year-old ailing Awami League leader arrived escorted by heavy security.
Hasina flew to London [Images] onboard a British Airways flight en route to the United States.
Lodged in a makeshift prison inside the Parliament complex since July 16, 2007, she was released on Wednesday for "eight weeks" after the interim government in the emergency-ruled country issued an executive order allowing her to undergo treatment abroad.
The courts had earlier exempted her from personal appearance during hearings in four graft cases.
The Awami League had demanded Hasina's release as a precondition to hold talks with the government, which was keen to engage the party along with Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party ahead of the planned general elections in December.
Zia is also lodged in jail since September 2007 on graft charges.
Hasina suffered a major ear injury during a 2004 grenade attack on her rally by suspected Islamic militants that left over two dozen people dead.
She was admitted earlier at a Dhaka facility under custody for various problems including fluctuating blood pressures and heart complications.
On April 18, 2007, the interim government had barred her from returning to country while she was on a tour of the the US and UK.
The British Airways that was to fly her home from London was told not to take her on board but after intense international pressure the government was forced to lift the ban a week later.