Dhaka: On Monday, a Bangladesh court handed down a six-month imprisonment sentence to Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel-winning economist, for breaching labor laws. Renowned for his 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and his impactful anti-poverty initiatives, the 83-year-old economist gained international acclaim for establishing Grameen Bank in 1983, thereby making Bangladesh synonymous with microcredit. Dr. Yunus, along with three associates from Grameen Telecom, a company he co-founded, was found guilty of failing to establish a worker welfare fund, leading to charges of labor law violations.
As the chairman of Grameen Telecom, Dr. Yunus was ordered to serve six months of simple imprisonment by Third Labor Court judge Sheikh Marina Sultana, who asserted the proven nature of the allegations against him. Additionally, a fine of 25 thousand taka (equivalent to 227.82 US dollars) was imposed on each offender, with a stipulation that failure to pay would result in a 10-day jail term. Post-verdict, Dr. Yunus and his associates promptly sought bail, which was granted by the judge for a one-month period, contingent upon a 5,000 taka bond. The legal recourse of appealing the verdict in the High Court is available to the convicted quartet.
This judicial decision comes amid the backdrop of general elections scheduled for January 7 in Bangladesh. Supporters of Dr. Yunus have denounced the ruling, labeling it as politically motivated.