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Khaleda Zia says jail was ‘painful’

world Updated: Sep 27, 2008 00:14 IST
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Former Bangladeshi prime minister Khaleda Zia said spending more than one year in solitary confinement was difficult and left a “deep mark” on her mind, according to an interview published on Friday.

The former prime minister, who had been detained since last September, was released on bail earlier this month as part of efforts to end nearly two years of political limbo.

In her first interview since she was freed, Zia told the English-language daily newspaper, New Age, that the country’s interim authorities had tried to force her to go overseas but she had refused.

“Yes, there was a move to send me abroad for medical treatment but I did not wish to go,” she said, adding she would not leave Bangladesh before elections scheduled for December 18 that will end emergency rule.

“The complete isolation was very painful,” she said.

“Solitary confinement... for more than a year has left a deep mark in my mind, but I am trying to overcome that and I hope to recover fully.”

She faces charges in four cases of corruption and misuse of power dating back to her two stints as premier from 1991-1996 and 2001-2006, including the awarding of state contracts.

No trial dates have been set.