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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 April 2007, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Bangladesh issues ex-PM warrant
Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina is insisting that she will participate in elections
A Dhaka court has issued an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to be used should she attempt to return to Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina has been charged with murder for allegedly masterminding the deaths of four supporters of a rival party during Dhaka unrest in October.

She left Bangladesh in late March, a few months after the interim government declared a state of emergency.

But she has vowed to go home to clear her name and participate in elections.

'Flight booked'

Sheikh Hasina is the leader of the opposition Awami League.

On Wednesday, she told the BBC that "nothing would stop" her from returning to Bangladesh to participate in elections and defend herself against the murder charges.

Bangladeshis in January reading about the state of emergency

"My duty is to the people of my country and I owe it to them to fight the election and defend myself against fabricated criminal charges," Sheikh Hasina told the BBC Bengali service.

Sheikh Hasina has said she is booked on a British Airways flight and is confident that she will be able to fly home.

But the military-backed caretaker government is reported to have closed ports and airports, and to have told some airlines not to carry the former prime minister to stop her entering the country.

Bangladesh's home ministry said earlier that if she was allowed to return her "provocative and inflammatory speeches" might create civil unrest.

As well as being accused of being responsible for four killings in Paltan, an area of the capital, where Awami League activists beat at least four people to death last October, Sheikh Hasina is also charged with extortion.

She denies all the charges.


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