Microfinance celerity Muhammad Yunus skirts jail


Microfinance celerity Muhammad Yunus skirts jail

In a dramatic turn of events, Muhammad Yunus, celebrated globally as the trailblazer of microfinance, finds himself entangled in legal battles to avoid incarceration, with his recent focus primarily on staying out of jail.

Yunus narrowly skirted imprisonment this week as a Bangladesh court extended his bail concerning allegations of labor law violations. However, this legal entanglement is just one among many headaches plaguing the renowned economist, who is grappling with a plethora of legal charges. Supporters of Yunus contend that his only offense was becoming a political thorn in the side of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, currently serving her fourth consecutive term in office.

Yunus earned widespread acclaim for his pioneering efforts in extending small loans to empower impoverished individuals, particularly women ineligible for conventional bank loans, enabling them to establish sustainable businesses. His initiatives, notably through the Grameen Bank, earned him and the organization the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, in recognition of their substantial contribution to poverty alleviation.

However, Yunus’ foray into the realm of politics in the aftermath of his Nobel Prize win proved to be a pivotal misstep. This move potentially positioned him as a rival in the eyes of Prime Minister Hasina, who boasts personal credit for Bangladesh’s remarkable economic growth.

Asif Nazrul, a law professor at Dhaka University, asserts, “The criminal cases against Dr. Yunus are definitely politically motivated,” underscoring the tight grip of the ruling regime on institutions involved in initiating legal proceedings against Yunus.

Despite Yunus’ disavowal of any political ambitions at the age of 83, Hasina has relentlessly targeted him. She branded Yunus as a “bloodsucker of the poor” and advocated for him to be “plunged into the Padma River.”

This alarming situation echoes Hasina’s past threats against opposition leader Khaleda Zia, whom she previously threatened to throw off the Padma Bridge. Zia has been incarcerated since 2018 and remains under house arrest. Now, Yunus faces a similar fate, with approximately 190 cases looming over him, painting a grim picture of his legal predicament.