Bangladesh Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus gets 6 months prison in labour law case

The conviction comes after fallout with PM Sheikh Hasina

Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus gestures in front of the court after being sentenced for six months of imprisonment and fined BDT 5,000 in a labour law violation case, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 1, 2024 | Reuters

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus was on Monday convicted in a labour law case in Bangladesh, said reports. He was sentenced to six months in prison in the case.

"The allegation of violating the Labour Law against him has been proved. It appears that the allegation has not been barred by limitation (either)," said Labour Court judge Sheikh Merina Sultana while pronouncing the judgment.

Yunus, 83, had won Nobel after he helped millions get out of poverty through his microfinance bank. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who had a fallout with Yunus had accused the economist of "sucking blood" from the poor. His supporters described the latest verdict as "politically motivated"

Yunus and three of his colleagues from Grameen Telecom were accused of failing to create a welfare fund for employees in the company. He slapped a Taka 25,000 fine on each of them, saying that in default they would have to serve 10 more days in jail.

Following the verdict, the four convicted applied for bail. The judge immediately granted a one-month bail in exchange for a Taka 5,000 bond.

They are expected to appeal against the verdict in the High Court.

Earlier, 105 Nobel laureates and several others from across the world wrote to Hasina, urging her to put an end to the legal persecution of Yunus.

Hasina is set to win a fifth term in the general elections this month after the opposition boycotted the polls.

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