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Former Bangladesh PM facing murder charges returns home after exile ended

[JURIST] Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed [Wikipedia profile] arrived in Bangladesh Monday after the government last week lifted a ban [JURIST report] against her returning to the country. When asked if she feared arrest on her return, Hasina described her brief exile to supporters as a "mistake" and said the government would not "repeat" it. Hasina and her rival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia [Virtualbangladesh profile], were both exiled [JURIST report] by President Iajuddin Ahmed's interim government to avoid the public disorder that often accompanied clashes between supporters of the two rivals.

Hasina was charged [JURIST report] in absentia last month with four counts of murder arising from the deaths of four protesters during political turmoil in Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] in October. An arrest warrant was later issued for Hasina, but was suspended [JURIST reports]. Ahmed declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] on January 11 and later indefinitely postponed elections scheduled for January 22 after the collapse of a caretaker government in the face of violent protests over election procedures. In the wake of the emergency declaration, Bangladeshi authorities detained over 2,500 people [JURIST report] and have raided the homes of several political leaders, making multiple arrests [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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