Clemency for Yunus on AL’s election victory? He should apologise to workers, says Hasina

She says her government has nothing to do with the sentencing of the Nobel laureate

Published : 8 Jan 2024, 08:32 PM
Updated : 8 Jan 2024, 08:32 PM

Sheikh Hasina has said her government cannot pardon Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus because it has nothing to do with his sentencing for labour law violations.

The prime minister faced a question about Yunus when she met local and foreign observers and journalists at the Ganabhaban on Monday, a day after a landslide victory confirmed her fourth straight term.

A court in Dhaka sentenced the Nobel prize-winning microcredit pioneer Yunus, the chairman of Grameen Telecom, and three other company executives to six months in prison for breaching labour laws on Jan 1.

But Yunus, 83, the founding Grameen Bank managing director, and the three others will not start serving time in prison anytime soon, as the court granted them one month's bail on condition that they use the time to launch an appeal against the ruling.

Yunus co-shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 with the Grameen Bank - a first for Bangladesh.

Hasina, a staunch critic of Yunus, accuses him of “sucking the blood of the poor through microcredit.

Critics say she sees Yunus as an opponent since his reported bid to join politics by ousting Hasina and her rival BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia during the 2007-08 caretaker government.  

An Indian observer asked if the Awami League government would pardon Yunus and other prominent figures convicted of different charges in celebration of its election victory.

Hasina said she has nothing to do with the case since it was filed by workers of his company.

“He violated the labour law by depriving his workers. This is why they filed the case and he has been sentenced. I have nothing to do there,” she said

“So, the question of me pardoning him does not arise. He rather go to the workers and apologise to them.”