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Bangladesh arrest warrant for Nobel laureate Yunus

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Dhaka, Bangladesh   /   Thu, October 10, 2019   /   01:23 pm
Bangladesh arrest warrant for Nobel laureate Yunus In this file photo taken on November 7, 2017 Bangladeshi economist and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus poses during a photo session in Paris. A Bangladesh labour court has issued an arrest warrant against Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus after he failed to appear at a hearing over the sacking of workers in a company he heads, officials said on Ocotber 10, 2019. A judge at Dhaka's Third Labour Court issued the order late Wednesday as sacked workers of Grameen Communications (GC) lodged a complaint saying they were fired because they set up a trade union, court clerk M. Nuruzzaman told AFP. (AFP/Joel Saget)

Bangladeshi economist and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has been issued with an arrest warrant after failing to appear at a hearing over the sacking of workers at a company he heads, officials said Thursday.

A judge at a court in Dhaka issued the order Wednesday as sacked workers from Grameen Communications (GC) lodged a complaint saying they were fired because they set up a trade union, court clerk M. Nuruzzaman told AFP. 

Yunus, who is chairman of GC, did not attend the hearing as he was abroad. The chief executive officer and a senior manager at the company appeared at the court and secured bail, Nuruzzaman said.

"He (Yunus) left Bangladesh before receiving any summons for appearing before the court. As soon as he returns, an appropriate legal step shall be taken," Yunus's lawyer Kazi Ershadul Alam told AFP.

The 79-year-old former economics professor who founded the pioneering poverty-busting micro lender Grameen Bank, has been at odds with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since 2007 when he made a brief foray into the country's highly polarised politics.

In 2011, he was sacked as the head of Grameen Bank, in a move widely believed to have been orchestrated by Hasina. He challenged his sacking in the highest court, but lost.

Yunus set up the Bank, which co-won the Nobel with him in 2006, in 1983 to make collateral-free micro loans to millions of rural entrepreneurs. The bank is now run by managers appointed by Hasina. 

Hasina has accused him of "sucking blood" from the poor amid allegations the bank charges interest rates of more than 20 percent, and suggested he was responsible for the World Bank pulling a $1.2 billion loan for a mega bridge project.