Bangladesh opposition leader Zia returns to jail

Bangladesh’s main opposition leader and Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia, center, looks on as she is escorted back to prison from a hospital visit on Thursday, November 8. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018

Bangladesh opposition leader Zia returns to jail

  • Hospital director Brig. Gen. Abdullah Al-Harun said Khaleda Zia had been cleared to go back to Dhaka Central Jail
  • Her doctors say Zia cannot use her left hand because of severe arthritis

DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities on Thursday sent opposition leader Khaleda Zia back to jail after a month of treatment in hospital, an official said.
The move came just ahead of the official announcement of the date of a general election which the 73-year-old Zia will almost certainly be excluded from because of the prison terms she is serving.
Hospital director Brig. Gen. Abdullah al Harun told reporters Zia had been cleared to go back to Dhaka Central Jail. “Her health has been in adequately stable condition.”
One of her aides, Zahid Hossain, alleged however that Zia’s doctors had not approved her return to jail.
Zia’s lawyers have previously accused the government of putting the health of the two-time former prime minister at risk by refusing her specialized care in prison.
Zia was jailed for five years in February for corruption and has since been held at the British colonial-era prison which was abandoned in 2016 but brought back into service to keep her.
She was taken to hospital last month when her condition deteriorated.
Her doctors say Zia cannot use her left hand because of severe arthritis. She is diabetic and also has problems with her neck and shoulder.
During her time in hospital, Zia was sentenced to seven years in jail in a new graft case while an appeal court doubled the term from the original case to 10 years.
Zia is now running out of time to make an appeal that could clear her to run in the election expected at the end of December.
Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party has condemned the cases as politically motivated to keep her out of an election showdown with current prime minister and arch-rival Sheikh Hasina.
BNP officials held talks with Hasina on their election demands which included releasing the party leader. Hasina rejected the demand.
The BNP boycotted the 2014 vote in which Hasina returned to power but is expected to contest the election this year.


Greece to “shut the door” to migrants not entitled to asylum, PM says

Updated 22 November 2019

Greece to “shut the door” to migrants not entitled to asylum, PM says

  • The government announced plans to shut overcrowded refugee camps on islands and replace them with more restrictive holding centers
  • They want to move up to 20,000 people to the mainland by the end of the year

ATHENS: Greece said on Friday it was deploying more border guards to “shut the door” to migrants not entitled to stay, the latest sign of a hardening stance against asylum seekers since a new surge in the number of arrivals. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament he had approved the hiring of 400 guards at Greece’s land border with Turkey and another 800 guards for its islands. Greece will also upgrade its sea patrolling operations, he said.
On Wednesday, the conservative government elected in July announced plans to shut overcrowded refugee camps on islands and replace them with more restrictive holding centers.
“Welcome in Greece are only those we choose. Those who are not welcomed will be returned,” Mitsotakis said. “We will permanently shut the door to illegal human traffickers, to those who want to enter although they are not entitled to asylum.”
Greece was the main gateway into the European Union for more than a million people fleeing conflict in 2015-16.
Migrant and refugee arrivals from neighboring Turkey have risen again, and more than 37,000 people are crammed into facilities on islands which operate far beyond their capacity.
The government wants to move up to 20,000 people to the mainland by the end of the year.
It has also designed a new framework to speed up the processing of asylum requests, which human rights groups have criticized as a “rushed” attempt that would impede access to a fair asylum process for refugees.