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Exiled Bangladeshi writer arrives in Europe

Latest update : 2008-03-19

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen left India on Wednesday after being hounded into hiding by death threats from Islamic extremists, her publisher and friends said.

STOCKHOLM, March 19 (Reuters) - Exiled Bangladeshi writer
Taslima Nasreen, under threat after angering Muslim groups with
her work, arrived in Europe on Wednesday after spending months
hiding in a safe house India, a representative said.
 

Nasreen, who did not want to reveal her location, has a
heart condition and planned to see a doctor, said Maria Modig,
vice president of Svenska PEN, the Swedish branch of the
international writers' association.
 

"She has landed safely in Europe," Modig said. "She doesn't
want to say where in Europe. But she wants us to say that she
feels safe now and will also see a doctor and will try to see
some friends."
 

Violent protests by Muslim groups in November forced Indian
authorities to put her in a safe house and bar visitors.
 

Earlier this week, Nasreen, 45, told Reuters by telephone
she had not been able to see a cardiologist for the past few
months and she had a serious heart problem.
 

She said she needed medical attention immediately.
 

Nasreen fled Bangladesh in 1994 when a court said she had
"deliberately and maliciously" hurt Muslim religious feelings
with her Bengali-language novel "Lajja", or "Shame", in which
she argued the Hindu minority in Bangladesh was poorly treated.
 

Last month, she was rushed to a hospital in New Delhi after
her blood pressure plummeted from an overdose of medicine to
control high blood pressure.
 

Nasreen spoke earlier this week of leaving India for either
France or Germany. Swedish media said she was probably in Sweden
now, but the Svenska PEN official would only say she did not
want to disclose her location.
 

Press Trust of India reported that Nasreen, while in transit
at London's Heathrow airport, said that if she disclosed her
location her security would be compromised.
 

"My face has now become recognisable," she told the agency,
adding she could become a target for fundamentalists.
 

The European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for
freedom of thought in 1994. She lived in Europe before settling
down in Kolkata.

Date created : 2008-03-19

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