Bangladesh’s government lawyer faces action for siding with troubled Nobel winner

Authorities in Bangladesh said Tuesday they were considering action against a senior prosecutor for publicly refusing to sign a statement condemning the global leaders who urged halting the trial against Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus.

Deputy Attorney General Imran Ahmed Bhuiyan said Monday he would not sign the statement against global leaders, who alleged that the government was running a judicial harassment campaign against Yunus.

“I also think Yunus is being harassed judicially,” Bhuiyan told reporters.

Bangladesh law minister Anisul Huq accused Bhuiyan of breaching discipline by going public over the issue.

“He (Bhuiyan) is a DAG (Deputy Attorney General) in charge of the Attorney General’s Office,” the law minister told reporters in Dhaka.

“He has broken discipline,” Huq said. “I will see (if action can be taken against him).”

Bhuiyan told EFE that he stood by his statement and would not resign.

“I stand by what I have said. I will not resign because I have not done anything that requires resignation,” he said.

Opinions have become divided after 176 global leaders last week appealed to the Bangladeshi authorities to halt the alleged campaign against the microcredit pioneer.

In a letter on Aug. 28 to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the leaders, including ex-US President Barack Obama, ex-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and more than 100 Nobel laureates, expressed concern about threats to democracy and human rights in Bangladesh.

“One of the threats to human rights that concerns us in the present context is the case of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yunus,” said the letter. “We are alarmed that he has been targeted by what we believe to be continuous judicial harassment.”

The signatories of the letter asked the Bangladesh prime minister to “immediately suspend the current judicial proceedings against Yunus, followed by a review of the charges by a panel of impartial judges.

Hasina expressed surprise, emphasizing that if Yunus was confident of his innocence, he would not have sought international statements.

A government official filed a case with Dhaka’s labor court in 2021 against Yunus and three others for not confirming the jobs of some 100 workers at Grameen Telecom, the company that he heads.

Yunus, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the bank in 2006, has had a strained relationship with Bangladeshi authorities since a documentary in 2010 alleged illegal fund transfers between the two entities in the Grameen Group.

Hasina has criticized Yunus for purportedly influencing the World Bank to cancel funding for the construction of a mega bridge project, an allegation he denied.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga