A Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus to six months in prison for labor law violations, prosecutors said. From what he said it was a crime he did not commit.
Yunus, 83, and his Grameen Bank won the Peace Prize in 2006 for their work lifting millions of people out of poverty by providing small loans of less than $100 over a period of time.poor people in rural Bangladeshbeing pioneers in a global movement now known as microcredit.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, accused him of “suck blood from the poorHis supporters say the government is trying to discredit him because he once considered creating a political party to rival Hasina’s Awami League.
Yunus, an economist, and three employees of Grameen Telecom, a company he founded, were sentenced Monday for not creating a social assistance fund for its employees.
“This verdict against me is contrary to all logic and legal precedent. I ask the people of Bangladesh to speak with one voice against injustice and for democracy and human rights for each and every one of our citizens,” he said in a statement after the verdict.
In response to petitions filed by the defendants, The court granted them bail pending a possible appeal. “The court granted them bail, giving them one month to file an appeal against the court’s verdict,” said prosecutor Khurshid Alam Khan.
Abdullah Al Mamun, Yunus’s lawyer, said the defendant would appeal the verdict and described the case as politically motivated and aimed at harassing Yunus.
Yunus faces more than 100 other charges for labor law violations and alleged corruption. Human rights groups have accused Hasina’s government of targeting political dissent. Hasina seeks a fifth term (and fourth in a row) in the January 7 elections which the main opposition party has boycotted.