Govt isn't weaponising judiciary to harass Yunus, says law minister

The minister addresses concerns raised domestically and internationally following the Nobel laureate's conviction in a labour law case

Published : 1 Feb 2024, 09:01 AM
Updated : 1 Feb 2024, 09:01 AM

Law Minister Anisul Huq has dismissed suggestions that the government is using the judiciary to harass Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, who was recently convicted in a labour law case.

On Thursday, the minister addressed concerns raised domestically and internationally following the labour court ruling against Yunus.

"The government doesn't operate under anyone's influence. The legal process is independent. The court's actions against Yunus and others have been in keeping with the law."

On Jan 1, a court sentenced Yunus, the chairman of Grameen Telecom, and three other company officials to six months in jail for labour law violations.

The Labour Appellate Tribunal later agreed to hear an appeal by the convicts and upheld their bail in the case.

Nobel Prize-winning microcredit pioneer Yunus and the others were 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.

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.

Huq noted that the labour department had issued two warnings to Yunus before the lawsuit was filed, following their investigation and discovery of certain legal breaches.

"The misinformation surrounding this case aims to tarnish the reputation of Bangladesh's judiciary and, by extension, the country's democratic and justice systems," he added.