A Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus – and three other people – to six months in prison for multiple violations of labor law. Sentence that has been made known amid international criticism against the Bangladeshi Government for the judicial persecution against the winner.
It was the Dhaka labor court that issued a verdict that, however, does not imply their immediate entry into prison, since those convicted were granted one month’s bail pending their appeal to a higher court.
“We are being punished for the crime we did not commit,” Yunus told the media in his first reaction upon leaving the judicial complex.
His lawyer, Abdullah Al Mamun, has been equally “furious” with the verdict, guaranteeing that there will be an appeal. “The State could not prove anything. We present 109 contradictions. If there is a contradiction, even a person accused of murder is released,” he noted.
The UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, Irene Khan, who was present at the trial, calls the verdict a “travesty of justice.” “As a citizen of Bangladesh, on the first day of 2024, I am shocked and terrified to see what is happening to the rule of law in this country.”
“The Labor Court has been used as a weapon against a Nobel Peace Prize winner while labor laws are violated in the most severe way every day, in every factory and even in the streets of violence, and the Government does nothing” Khan added.