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Ershad travel ban

Dhaka, Oct. 22 (Reuters): Bangladesh authorities, who last week launched a massive crackdown on crime, have barred former President Hossain Mohammad Ershad from travelling abroad, immigration officials said today.

Officials at Dhaka airport refused to allow Ershad — a former army general who ruled for nearly nine years until December 1990 — to board a flight to Singapore on Monday night. “We sent him back from the airport following a government instruction,” an immigration official said. Ershad, 72, who is now the head of the small Opposition Jatiya Party, said he had needed to travel to Singapore for a medical check up. “They did not allow me to get on the flight to Singapore.... without giving any reason,” he told Reuters.

Ershad, who seized power in a 1982 bloodless coup, has been convicted of corruption and jailed more than once since he was ousted in a popular uprising in 1990. About 1,500 people have been detained in the crackdown on crime so far, including leaders and activists of both the Bangladesh Awami League and the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), police and officials said.

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