Bangladesh President Rahman passes away

Bangladesh President Rahman passes away

Bangladesh President Rahman passes away

President Rahman suffered from kidney and respiratory problems. AP photo

Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman, a veteran ruling party politician named to the largely ceremonial post in 2009, died March.20 in a Singapore hospital, an embassy official said. He was 84.

“The president died at a hospital here in Singapore at 6.47 pm local time,” Bangladesh High Commissioner in Singapore M. Mahbubuzzaman told Agence France-Presse by phone.

Rahman, who was suffering from kidney and respiratory problems, was flown to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital by air ambulance on March 10 after his condition worsened. His secretary Shafiul Alam said that Rahman, a close aide of the nation’s founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, had been suffering from “old age complications.” The former deputy chief of the ruling Awami League party, the country’s 19th president, leaves a son who is a lawmaker and two daughters.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the parliament speaker, who has been discharging the day-to-day job of the president in Rahman’s absence, sent their condolences. Rahman was sentenced to 20 years in prison during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation from Pakistan and was again imprisoned for four years after Sheikh Mujib’s assassination in 1975. He also went to jail for a short time after elections in 1986 while he was an Awami League lawmaker.

Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman, also a politician, died in August 2004 after she was critically injured in a grenade attack on a rally that also killed 20 other people. Rahman’s death does not affect the government as Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy, with the prime minister holding the executive powers.