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Muhammad Yunus: Nobel winner Muhammad Yunus convicted in Bangladesh labour law case

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NEW DELHI: Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus was on Monday convicted for violating the country’s labour law.
“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 said, adding that all four were immediately granted bail pending appeals.
Political angle
The case has been widely panned as politically motivated
Yunus, 83, is credited with lifting millions out of poverty with his pioneering microfinance bank but has earned the enmity of longtime prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who has accused him of “sucking blood” from the poor.

Hasina has made a series of scathing verbal attacks against the internationally respected 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was once seen as a political rival.
She is all but certain to win a fifth term in national elections next week after an opposition boycott.

Economist Yunus and three colleagues from Grameen Telecom, one of the firms he founded, are accused of violating labour laws when they failed to create a workers’ welfare fund in the company. All four had denied the charges.
In August, 160 global figures, including former US president Barack Obama and ex-UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, published a joint letter denouncing “continuous judicial harassment” of Yunus.
The signatories, including more than 100 of his fellow Nobel laureates, said they feared for “his safety and freedom”.
Critics accuse Bangladeshi courts of rubber-stamping decisions made by Hasina’s government.
Her administration has been increasingly firm in its crackdown on political dissent, and Yunus’s popularity among the Bangladeshi public has for years earmarked him as a potential rival.
Amnesty International accused the government of “weaponizing labour laws” when Yunus went to trial in September and called for an immediate end to his “harassment”.
Criminal proceedings against Yunus were “a form of political retaliation for his work and dissent”, it said.

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