August 28

Press Release: Global Leaders and Civic Courage Alarmed by Possible Jailing of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Call for Justice

Out of a growing concern over a likely imprisonment of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, more than 160 global leaders including more than 100 Nobel Laureates wrote an open letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stating “…we are alarmed that [Prof. Yunus] has recently been targeted by what we believe to be continuous judicial harassment….” adding that they are “…concerned about his safety and freedom.” This was a follow up to an earlier letter sent in March.

The leaders responded to a mid-August review from an International law firm stating: “Professor Yunus is facing six months in prison for a crime that he not only did not commit, but that legally does not exist….Events are moving quickly in Bangladesh driven by a forthcoming election and a presumed desire to imprison Prof. Yunus prior to that election….Not only are the allegations entirely without merit, but the legal process is wrong in law….A miscarriage of justice is happening in Bangladesh and the state must not be allowed to carry it to its conclusion.”

Signatories of the letter supporting Prof. Yunus include Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United StatesJose Ramos-Horta, the president of East Timor, and Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland. About this situation, President Obama recently wrote, “During this period, I hope it gives you strength to know that many whose potential you invested in, and those who care about a more equitable economic future for all, are thinking of you, and I hope that you continue to have the freedom to do your important work.”

One of only seven people to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, Yunus has been under attack by Sheikh Hasina’s government since 2010. “The attacks on Muhammad Yunus are what you’d expect from an authoritarian government,” said Sam Daley-Harris, the founder of Civic Courage and the anti-poverty nonprofit RESULTS. He added, “When a government controls all the levers of power, the media, the courts, and the parliament, it does whatever it can to stay in power.”

Photo courtesy of Johan Lange.

Source: PR Newswire (link opens in a new window)

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