Yunus secures bail extension in labour law case

The Nobel laureate is seeking to overturn his six-month jail term for violations of labour law

Published : 3 March 2024, 07:01 AM
Updated : 3 March 2024, 07:01 AM

The Labour Appellate Tribunal in Dhaka has extended the bail term for Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus as he appeals his conviction in a case related to violations of labour laws.

The extension was granted by Judge MA Awal on Sunday, although the new bail duration was not specified in the order. The tribunal has set Apr 16 as the date for the next hearing.

Yunus, who attended the hearing, was represented by Advocate Abdullah Al Mamun. The state was represented by Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan.

On Jan 1, Yunus, along with Grameen Telecom's Managing Director Ashraful Hasan, and directors Nurjahan Begum and Md Shahjahan, were each sentenced to six months in jail and fined Tk 30,000.

Judge Sheikh Marina Sultana of the Dhaka Third Labour Court found them guilty of failing to deliver appointment letters to 101 employees, not paying employees during public holidays, and not submitting the fixed dividends to the Labour Welfare Foundation.

But Yunus, the founding Grameen Bank managing director, and the other convicts did not have to start serving time in prison immediately, as the court granted them one month's bail on condition that they use the time to launch an appeal against the ruling.

The complete 84-page verdict was released on Jan 11, prompting Yunus' legal team to launch the appeal.

Nobel Prize-winning microcredit pioneer Yunus and the others were also accused of failing to provide employees of Grameen Telecom with appointment letters, get work schedules approved by the authorities, and submit annual and half-yearly returns.

During an appeal hearing on Jan 28, Judge Awal upheld their bail and fixed Mar 3 to review the case documents and the labour court's judgment.

Yunus's conviction has drawn scrutiny both at home and abroad, with 12 US senators writing to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to express their concerns over the perceived 'judicial harassment' of the Nobel laureate.