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Bangladesh ex-PM to seek US medical treatment while corruption trial continues

[JURIST] Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina [official profile; JURIST news archive] will be released from detention Monday to seek US treatment for health issues including high blood pressure and severe ear and eye conditions. Bangladesh's emergency government charged Hasina with corruption for allegedly receiving illegal kickbacks in a scheme to award lucrative gas contracts and a power-plant deal [JURIST reports]. She has resisted medical treatment in Bangladesh [JURIST report] because of security concerns, and a court granted a petition by her lawyers to allow the trial to continue in her absence after a government medical board suggested she go abroad immediately for treatment. Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia [UN profile; JURIST news archive], who has also been detained and charged [JURIST report] with corruption, said Monday that she would not leave the country [The Daily Star report] for treatment of arthritis and knee problems. It is unclear whether government officials would prevent the former prime ministers from re-entering the country [JURIST report], as they did for a short time last year. BBC has more. The Daily Star has local coverage.

Bangladesh's current anti-corruption crackdown began last February as eight former Bangladeshi ministers were accused of corruption [JURIST report] and 13 other former ministers and senior politicians were arrested in raids on their homes [JURIST report] after Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] in the country and cancelled a scheduled national election. In May, Bangladeshi authorities approved a Truth and Accountability Commission [JURIST report] that would allow corrupt officials and businessmen to avoid jail time by publicly confessing their misdeeds and returning any illegally obtained money. The commission is designed to ease the burden on the country's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) [governing statute; JURIST news archive], which faces a huge backlog and which government officials say could take decades to prosecute all of the offenders.

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