Nobel peace laureate convicted in Bangladesh labour law case

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

Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus has been convicted of violating Bangladesh's labour laws in a case decried by his supporters as politically motivated.

Yunus and three colleagues from Grame en Telecom, one of the firms he founded, were accused of violating labour laws when they failed to create a workers' welfare fund in the company.

On Monday, a labour court in the capital Dhaka convicted and sentenced them to "six months' simple imprisonment", lead prosecutor Khurshid Alam Khan said, adding that all four were immediately granted bail pending appeals.

All four deny the charges. Dozens of people staged a small rally in support of Yunus outside the court.

"I have been punished for a crime that I haven't committed," Yunus told reporters after the hearing. "If you want to call it justice, you can."

Yunus is facing more than 100 other charges over labour law violations and alleged graft.

'Travesty of justice'

Yunus told reporters after one of the hearings last month that he had not profited from any of the more than 50 social business firms he had set up in Bangladesh.

"They were not for my personal benefit," Yunus said at the time.

Another of his lawyers, Khaja Tanvir, said that the case was "meritless, false and ill-motivated".

Irene Khan, a former Amnesty chief now working as a UN special rapporteur who was present at Monday's verdict, said the conviction was "a travesty of justice".

"A social activist and Nobel laureate who brought honour and pride to the country is being persecuted on frivolous grounds," she said.


Source: TRT