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Former Premier leaves Bangladesh

BANGLADESH: Former Bangladeshi premier Sheikh Hasina Wajed flew out the country Thursday, a day after she was released from detention on graft charges, to undergo medical treatment in the United States, police said.

The leader of the Awami League party, who was held over corruption allegations for almost a year, left Zia International Airport on a flight for London, said airport police chief Ruhul Amin. From London she will travel to the United States to have treatment for hearing problems.

Her secretary Hasan Mahmud told reporters before the departure that the ex-premier had been ?freed unconditionally and would return home once she had fully recovered from treatment for her hearing and other medical problems?.

Bangladesh?s army-backed emergency government gave permission Monday for Sheikh Hasina, who led the country from 1996 to 2001, to be released ? albeit with the graft charges still in place.

The release is part of a political deal, with the government trying to end a stalemate with the two main political parties, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Both parties had refused to hold talks to plan for an election at the end of the year because both of their leaders, Sheikh Hasina and the BNP leader Khaleda Zia, have been in detention.

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