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Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen arrives in Europe, will see doctor

STOCKHOLM (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.