News

    Bangladesh's Battling Begums May Get Medical Release

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Media reports in Bangladesh say the military-backed interim government is poised to allow the medical release of two former prime ministers jailed for alleged corruption. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in our South Asia bureau in New Delhi reports the decision would be a face-saving way to break a political deadlock that could clear the way for scheduled elections to put Bangladesh back on track to democracy.

    Media reports from Dhaka say the caretaker government there is likely to decide that former prime ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia will be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment. The two political foes, known as the "Battling Begums", are jailed facing corruption charges.

    The release from custody of the two women, who respectively head the country's two largest political parties, could break a political stalemate that has threatened to derail planning for December national elections.

    Dhaka University political science professor Ataur Rahman describes the possible move as face-saving for the caretaker government and the major political forces.

    "Its face-saving because these [corruption] cases, if you take it rigorously in the court of law there may be some punishment," he said. "Ideally many people thought that would happen. At the same time, the hold of these two ladies in politics of the country was so overwhelming it was not possible. In any case they would stay in Bangladesh, so they would still carry their strength."

    But former Prime Minister Zia appears to be in no mood to leave. Media reports quote her during a court appearance Sunday as saying she is not going anywhere because there are good physicians available in Bangladesh to treat her.

    Her rival, former Prime Minister Hasina, appears more flexible. Family members and her lawyers say she would go to Europe or the United States for treatment if allowed to leave the country.

    The two political leaders were arrested as part of the military-backed interim government's sweeping crackdown on graft. The authorities say such a move was necessary to rid Bangladesh of rampant corruption before elections can be held.

    Officials have not disclosed what ailments would compel overseas medical treatment. Hasina has a damaged ear resulting from a bombing attack targeted at her four years ago. She has also had fluctuating blood pressure. Zia is believed to have arthritis.

    Hasina is chief of the Awami League. Zia heads the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Clashes on the streets between supporters of the two parties led to upheaval in 2006, prompting the caretaker government, backed by the Army, to impose a state of emergency in January of 2007.

    The interim government announced plans to hold nationwide parliamentary elections this December. But the BNP and the Awami League have said they will boycott polling unless their two leaders are freed.

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora