Bangladesh court issues arrest warrant against Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus

A labour court in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant against Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus as he failed to appear for a scheduled hearing over sacking of three employees of a company which he heads as its chairman.

“Dhaka 3rd Labour Court chairman Rohibul Islam issued the warrant as he (Yunus failed to appear as the hearing was scheduled today,” court clerk Nuruzzaman told the media.

He said, Muhammad Yunus was asked to appear along with Grameen Communications’ managing director Naznin Sultana and deputy general Manager Khandaker Abu Abedin over sacking of three employees for forming a union at their workplace. Grameen Communications is IT wing of Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus is the chairman of the Grameen Communications.

“Though the two senior officials of the Grameen Communications appeared before the court, Muhammad Yunus failed to turn up, following which the chairman of the court, Rohibul Islam, issued the arrest warrant against him,” a court official said.

The court granted bail to the two company officials who appeared before it, he said.

Three former employees of the Grameen Communications have filed criminal cases against the company management after they were sacked in June for their role in the formation of trade union at their workplace.

The trio filed three separate cases for transferring them as part of harassment, issuing threats and subsequently sacking for forming the trade union.

Muhammad Yunus courted controversy in 2015 also when Bangladesh’s revenue authorities summoned him over non-payment of over $1.51 taxes.

The 79-year-old economist has been at odds with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since 2007 when he made a brief foray into the country’s violent and polarised politics dominated by her family and her arch-rival Khaleda Zia.
Muhammad Yunus was removed in 2011 as head of the micro-lender Grameen Bank that he founded, a move widely seen as orchestrated by Hasina.

Muhammad Yunus set up the Grameen Bank in 1983 to make collateral-free micro-loans to rural and mostly women entrepreneurs. Its record in helping to reduce poverty earned him global fame and a Nobel Peace Prize.

But Hasina has accused Muhammad Yunus of “sucking blood” from the poor. In 2013, the government ordered legal action against him on charges of, what it said, was “tax exemon without following due procedure”, misuse of power and violating foreign travel regulations.

(With inouts from .