Bangladesh summons British envoy over UK report on Zia's ‘house arrest’ status

Bangladesh on Sunday summoned the British Acting High Commissioner (AHC) here to convey disappointment over an "insinuating and misleading" comment on the country’s ex-prime minister and main opposition BNP chief Khaleda Zia's current status in a human rights report.

The foreign ministry also issued a statement saying acting British envoy Javed Patel has conveyed the government's views and disappointment with certain issues mentioned in the Bangladesh chapter of the Human Rights and Democracy Report 2020.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) released the report on Thursday.

"The acting (British) high commissioner was called mainly to clarify Begum Zia's current status…it (the report) said she was under "house arrest" contrary to the fact that she has been conditionally freed from jail," a foreign ministry official said.

Zia, 76, was serving a 17-year jail term in two graft charges from February 8, 2018, while the government allowed her temporary release on “humanitarian grounds” at the onset of COVID-19 pandemic after her brother and sister met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.