Dhaka, Oct 9: Khaleda Zia, 73, a long-running rival of Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, was on an order from the High Court, transferred to hospital on Saturday following poor health.
The widow of assassinated President Zia-ur-Rahman was jailed in February for corruption and is on trial in a special room in the abandoned Dhaka Central Jail on graft charges that her supporters say are politically motivated.
'Her symptoms have worsened in the last few months," Abdul Jalil Chowdhury, one of the physicians at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital who has since examined her, told UNI. "She has developed deformity of left hand in the last few months due to long standing rheumatoid arthritis. Khaleda can not use her left hand," he said.
'In addition, she has developed left frozen shoulder," he said. Khaleda also suffers from neck and back pain and is a diabetic.
Lawyers for Khaleda, prime minister from 1991-1996 and 2001-2006, had argued that the government was putting her health at risk by refusing her specialised care in prison.
When Khaleda who leads the Bangladesh Nationalist Party -- was jailed in February for corruption, the sentence triggered clashes between police and thousands of her supporters. She was found guilty of embezzling money intended for an orphanage.
Khaleda is appealing against the verdict--which bars her from standing in the general election set for December -- and was granted bail earlier this year. However, she remains in custody while she fights dozens of other violence and graft charges.
Last month, the authorities turned a room of the jail into a court -- a move her lawyers said was illegal.
Khaleda already had health issues including arthritis, diabetes and knee replacements when she was sentenced.
She is the only inmate in Dhaka Central Jail, built in the 19th century under British colonial rule and in 2016 declared abandoned.
Her party boycotted the 2014 election in which Sheikh Hasina Wazed returned to power but is expected to contest the polls due in December. (UNI)