176 world leaders, including 105 Nobel laureates, have written to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pleading with her to cease Professor Muhammad Yunus‘ legal persecution. Professor Muhammad Yunus is the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. As the trial for Yunus is about to resume, the letter has been sent.
Through his microcredit institution, Yunus is credited with helping millions of people escape poverty. He was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for fostering economic growth in his nation. His efforts to aid in the eradication of extreme poverty in Bangladesh were made possible by the Grameen Bank, which he formed in the 1980s, which gave microloans to millions of rural women.
The anti-graft body in Bangladesh opened an investigation into companies led by Yunus last year. In addition, Hasina charged him with “sucking blood from the poor” and blamed him for the World Bank’s decision to pull out of a bridge project due to charges of corruption. Yunus received a $7 million donation to three charitable trusts between 2011 and 2014, and the top court of Bangladesh ordered him to pay over $1 million in taxes on that payment in July.
The world leaders underlined their worry about what they perceived to be human rights abuses in Bangladesh, including the case against Yunus, in their letter. “We are concerned that he has recently been the target of ongoing judicial harassment, which we believe to be occurring. This letter seeks to further the prior request made to you by 40 world leaders who were worried about his safety and freedom, according to the letter.
Image source: CNN
The earlier appeal mentioned above was made in March when former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former UN head Ban Ki-moon published a joint letter pleading with Bangladesh to stop harassing and attacking Yunus in a “unfair” manner.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus’s situation is one of the risks to human rights that worries us in the current setting, the leaders wrote in a letter dated Tuesday, August 29. We’re concerned that he’s been recently the target of what appears to be ongoing judicial harassment.
In their statement, they expressed their certainty that “any thorough review of the anti-corruption and labor law cases against him will result in his acquittal.”
The impending elections in Bangladesh, which are predicted to take place in early January, have also received support from international personalities. Hasina has rejected the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s demand that she resign so that a caretaker administration may monitor the elections after it raised worries about possible election cheating.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister’s response to the letter
Image source: UN Environment Programme
In response to the open letter, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina stated that she would be open to having international experts and attorneys review the court cases and records pertaining to Yunus’ charges.
She predicted that this will give more details about the case.
“Many more things that are still hidden will be discovered if they send the specialists and lawyers. Such items will surface frequently.
Bangladesh: Accusations against the Nobel Prize winner
In 1983, Yunus established Grameen Bank, a company that offers small loans to business owners who normally are not eligible for standard bank loans.
According to news agency AP, the bank’s effectiveness in reducing poverty served as a template for microfinance programs around the world.
But in 2008, shortly after taking office, Hasina’s administration started looking into Yunus’ actions.
According to the AP, Hasina “became enraged” when Yunus revealed his intention to launch a political party in 2007, when the government was supported by the military. Yunus was referred to as a “bloodsucker” and accused of employing force to recoup loans by Hasina, who was imprisoned at the time.
Yunus was accused of a number of offenses, including violating labor rules, obtaining money without authorization from the government, and embezzling money from Grameen Telecom, a business he founded. According to AP, defense attorneys have labeled some of the cases as harassment and have pledged to refute the claims.