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Sunday February 25, 2024

Bangladesh’s Yunus vows to help poor despite legal woes

Yunus is credited with lifting millions out of poverty with his pioneering microfinance bank

By AFP
January 29, 2024
Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus (C) addresses the media as leaves a court in Dhaka on January 28, 2024. — AFP
Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus (C) addresses the media as leaves a court in Dhaka on January 28, 2024. — AFP

DHAKA: Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus vowed on Sunday to overcome scores of court cases that his supporters say are politically motivated to achieve his environmental and economic policies.

“Our dream is to create a new world,” 83-year-old Yunus told reporters outside court, after he was formally granted bail in his appeal against a six-month prison sentence in a case widely criticised by human rights groups.

Yunus is credited with lifting millions out of poverty with his pioneering microfinance bank but has incurred the wrath of Bangladesh´s longtime Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has accused him of “sucking blood” from the poor.

Hasina, who was sworn in for a fifth term this month after a landslide victory in an election boycotted by the opposition, has made several scathing verbal attacks against the internationally respected 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

His conviction on January 1 related to labour law violations, but lawyers said Yunus faces at least 170 other cases, including major corruption charges that could see him jailed for years if found guilty.

He denies all wrongdoing. Yunus, in an emotionally charged speech, said he had dedicated his life to supporting those most in need and was “committed” to continuing his work.