Nobel winner economist Muhammad Yunus faces jail in Bangladesh court ruling | World News

Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus was convicted on Monday for violating Bangladesh’s labour laws.

Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus (C) appears in a court in Dhaka on January 1, 2024.(AFP)
Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus (C) appears in a court in Dhaka on January 1, 2024.(AFP)

“Professor Yunus and three of his Grameen Telecom colleagues were convicted under labour laws and sentenced to six months in simple imprisonment,” prosecutor Khurshid Alam Khan told AFP, adding that all four were immediately granted bail pending appeals.

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Yunus, aged 83, is acclaimed for elevating millions from poverty through his groundbreaking microfinance bank.

However, he has incurred the disdain of longtime prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who accused him of “sucking blood” from the poor.

Hasina has launched scathing verbal attacks against the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Yunus and three Grameen Telecom colleagues faced accusations of violating labour laws for neglecting to establish a workers’ welfare fund.

A Dhaka labour court convicted and sentenced them to “six months’ simple imprisonment,” with all four immediately granted bail pending appeals. Outside the court, a small demonstration of support for Yunus took place.

Also read: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and 160 global leaders call for suspension of legal action against Muhammad Yunus

Who is Muhammad Yunus?

• Recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Professor Muhammad Yunus is internationally recognised for his contributions to poverty alleviation and the empowerment of women in need.

• Professor Yunus has innovatively combined capitalism with social responsibility through the establishment of the Grameen Bank. This microcredit institution is dedicated to providing modest amounts of working capital to empower the poor for self-employment. Originating as an action-research project in 1976, the Grameen Bank has since expanded, offering collateral-free loans to 7.5 million clients across more than 82,072 villages in Bangladesh, with an impressive 97% being women.

• Additionally, Prof Yunus has founded various companies in Bangladesh to tackle diverse issues related to poverty and development. These include Grameen Phone (a mobile telephone company), Grameen Shakti (an energy company), Grameen Fund (a social venture capital company), Grameen Textile, Grameen Knitwear, Grameen Education, Grameen Agriculture, Grameen Fisheries and Livestock, Grameen Business Promotion, Grameen Danone Foods Ltd, and Grameen Healthcare Services. He is also the founder of Grameen Trust, extending the Grameen microcredit system globally.

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