Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus sentenced in Bangladesh labour law case

Social entrepreneur convicted in a case his supporters argue is politically motivated

Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, economist, Nobel laureate and civil society leader Muhammad Yunus arrives on the red carpet for the Charity Gala of the German Postcode Lottery under the theme ‘Stand Up For Human Rights’ in Duesseldorf, Germany on May 24, 2023. — Reuters

Renowned Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, aged 83, has been sentenced to six months in prison for alleged violations of labour laws in Bangladesh, according to prosecutors.

Yunus, along with three Grameen Telecom employees, was convicted on Monday in a case his supporters argue is politically motivated.

Known for his groundbreaking work with Grameen Bank, which earned him the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Yunus and his institution have been instrumental in alleviating poverty through microcredit.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina previously accused Yunus of “sucking blood from the poor,” while supporters assert that the charges aim to discredit him due to his past consideration of establishing a political party to rival Hasina’s Awami League.

Despite the conviction, the court granted bail to Yunus and the co-accused, allowing them one month to file an appeal against the verdict.

Khaja Tanvir, one of Yunus’ lawyers, labelled the case as politically motivated harassment, echoing concerns raised by human rights groups about the government’s alleged targeting of political dissent as the country approaches a crucial election on January 7.


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