Arrest warrant issued for Hasina as she prepares to return
Apr 22, 2007 - 4:12:32 PM

Dhaka/London, April 22 - A Bangladesh court Sunday issued an arrest warrant against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina on a murder charge, a day before she attempts to return to the country.

Warrants were issued against Hasina and two Awami League leaders in a case pertaining to the killing of six activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami - at a rally she had addressed Oct 28 last year.

Metropolitan Magistrate Mir Ali Reza issued the warrants after accepting a charge sheet against the Awami League chief and 45 others, Star Online said.

Though the complainant did not mention Hasina, investigation officers pressed charges against her and the others on April 11.

Significantly, the government also pressed charges for violence at that rally, against the JeI brass, including its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, following a complaint by Workers' Party, a constituent of the Hasina-led alliance.

There was no word if any arrest warrant had been issued against Nizami and his colleagues.

Meanwhile, Hasina, who is in London, told BBC Bangla Service Saturday that she would not seek political asylum in any country in case she is not allowed to return home Monday.

'Why would I seek political asylum here?' Sheikh Hasina shot back at the interviewer. She was asked if she would seek asylum in the US or Britain in the 'changed circumstances'.

The interviewer's reference was to the ban on her return by Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed's government that said her return could jeopardise the economy and cause political instability.

'Tomorrow I will go to the airport and I expect sense would dawn upon the caretaker government and they would let me return to Bangladesh,' Hasina was quoted in The Daily Star as saying.

Asked why she was taking the risk of being arrested by returning to Bangladesh, she said: 'I am taking the risk for the people. I want to be back with my people on my own soil.

'Sacrificing everything, I am struggling to establish the rights of the people. So whatever be my fate, I will return to Bangladesh,' Hasina said.

Asked what she would do in case the airline refused to let her board the plane, she replied: 'I still don't know what they will say. I will approach them first. If they refuse to carry me, then I will make a decision about what to do.'

On the reaction of British MPs to the ban on her return, Hasina said: 'They are deeply concerned about the bar on my return home.

'They supported me wholeheartedly when I expressed my intention of returning home. Many MPs are personally trying to persuade the British Airways -,' she added.

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