Subcontinent

Bangladesh court indicts Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus

Thursday, 13 Jun, 2024
Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for pioneering microcredit to help impoverished people. (Photo courtesy: Muhammad Yunus@Facebook)

Dhaka: Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and 13 others were indicted by a special judge’s court in Bangladesh in connection with an embezzlement case involving more than $2 million. Yunus, who pleaded not guilty and is out on bail for now, told reporters that authorities were “harassing” him and other colleagues and denied being involved in any corruption.

The 83-year-old was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for pioneering microcredit to help impoverished people, especially women. According to AP news agency, the prosecution accused Yunus and the others of embezzling 250 million takas from the workers welfare fund of Grameen Telecom, which owns 34.2% of the country’s largest mobile phone company, Grameenphone, a subsidiary of Norway’s telecom giant Telenor.

Special Judge Syed Arafat Hossain said the prosecution was able to preliminarily back their argument and proved the charges of misappropriation of funds and sending money abroad illegally, adding the trial is to start on July 15.

On January 1 this year, a Dhaka court sentenced Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Telecom CEO Md Ashraful Hassan, Managing Director M Shahjahan and Trustee Nurjahan Begum to six months in jail over labor law violations. They were granted bail later in the month by Bangladesh's Labour Appellate Tribunal.

Last year, more than 170 global leaders and Nobel laureates urged Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to suspend legal proceedings against Yunus.