Feminist writer out on bail

DHAKA (Reuter) - The Bangladeshi feminist writer Taslima Nasrin ended two months of hiding from extremist Muslim death threats to appear in the High Court, where she was granted bail on a charge of insulting Islam. Looking pale and worried, she entered flanked by lawyers headed by the former foreign minister, Kamal Hossain.

'I was afraid of surrendering because of the death threat. I can say nothing more,' said Ms Nasrin who left court quickly after bail was granted. Family members declined to disclose her destination. 'The government will do whatever necessary to protect Nasrin,' the Attorney General, Aminul Huq, said.

Ms Nasrin had been in hiding since 4 June after the government ordered her arrest for insulting Muslim feelings by telling India's Statesman newspaper that Islam's holy book, the Koran, should be 'revised thoroughly'. She later said she was misquoted. The newspaper stood by its report. The comments by the the physician-turned-writer provoked Muslim fury. Islamic militants offered cash rewards for her death.

A Dhaka Magistrate Court had set a 4 August deadline for Ms Nasrin to give herself up or be arrested. If not, her property would have been forfeit and charges laid in her absence. The High Court, granting bail, said she must appear before magistrates 'in person or through a lawyer'. If convicted, she could be jailed for up to two years.