Bangladesh's military-led government on Monday announced the release of ailing former premier Sheikh Hasina who will leave for the United States, nearly 11 months after she was arrested under its massive anti-graft drive.
"The government has decided to give her an opportunity to go abroad for treatment. She will be released through an administrative order," chief prosecution lawyer Sharfuddin Ahmed Mukul told reporters here.
The announcement came as four special courts trying the 60-year-old Awami League chief in separate corruption cases exempted her from personal appearance during hearings.
Mukul said Hasina, who was the prime minister from 1996 to 2001, could be released anytime now as the court had returned her passport but the cases against her would continue.
Hasina's lawyers said she will travelling to the US after her release as thousands of party supporters started gathering along roads leading to the national parliament complex, where the authorities have detained her in a make-shift jail since her arrest on July 16 last year.
Hasina suffered a major ear injury during a 2004 grenade attack on her rally by suspected Islamic militants that left over two dozen people dead. She was admitted earlier at a city facility under custody for various problems including fluctuating blood pressures, eye complaints and cardiac complications.
On April 18 last year, the interim government had barred her from returning to country while she was on a tour of the the US and UK.
The British Airways that was to fly her home from London was told not to take her on board but after intense international pressure the government was forced to lift the ban a week later.