Muhammad Yunus Nobel laureate jailed

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Muhammad Yunus

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus to six months in prison for violating the country’s labor laws.

Professor Yunus harshly criticized Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

His supporters believe the incident was politically motivated. The famous economist and three colleagues of Grameen Telecom – one of the companies he founded – were convicted of not establishing a social protection fund for workers.

All four deny any wrongdoing and have been released on bail pending appeal.

“As my lawyers argued convincingly in court, this judgment against me flies in the face of all legal precedent and logic,” Professor Yunus said in a statement released after the verdict.

“I call on the people of Bangladesh to speak out against injustice and support democracy and human rights for all our citizens.

” Yunus, 83, is known around the world as the “banker for the poor,” credited with establishing a pioneering microfinance lending system that helped millions escape poverty.

Professor Yunus and his Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering work in 2006.

Bangladesh must end attacks on ‘bankers for the poor’ Discussing the verdict, one of his lawyers, Abdullah Al Mamun, told the media: “It is an unprecedented verdict.

No legal procedures were followed in this case and it was brought to trial hastily”.

“The idea is to damage its international reputation,” Mr. Mamun added We are appealing this verdict.

” Professor Yunus’ lawyers said he faces more than 100 other charges of labor violations and corruption allegations.

Ms Hasina once described Professor Yunus as a “bloodsucker” of the poor and accused Grameen Bank of charging exorbitant interest rates.

Irene Khan, former director of the human rights organization Amnesty International and a special rapporteur for the United Nations, was present at Monday’s trial.

She told AFP news agency that the verdict was a “betrayal of justice”.

In August, more than 170 global figures called on Ms. Hasina to end the “persecution” of Professor Yunus.

The letter, whose signatures include former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Virgin founder Richard Branson and U2 singer Bono, demands that the “continued legal harassment” of Professor Yunus cease.

Ms Hasina said she has invited international experts to evaluate the ongoing legal proceedings against Professor Yunus.

It is unclear what led to the friction between Ms Hasina and Professor Yunus, but the economist’s supporters said the government was trying to discredit him because he had considered forming a political party to compete with the ruling Awami League.

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