DACCA – A Bangladeshi labor court issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus after he failed to appear for a hearing on the firing of three employees of a company he heads.
“Dhaka 3rd Labor Court chairman Rohibul Islam issued the warrant as he (Yunus) failed to appear for the hearing in three cases,” court clerk Nuruzzaman told Efe.
Nuruzzaman said Yunus was asked to appear along with Grameen Communications managing director Naznin Sultana and the company’s deputy general manager, Khandaker Abu Abedin.
Sultana and Abedin were present in the court, the clerk said.
Former employees of Grameen Communications filed complaints against company chairman Yunus and the two executives, claiming that they were fired for trying to form a union.
The leader of the Grameen Communications Employees Union, Badrul Alam, told EFE that the company illegally dismissed him and four other employees for organizing a union.
“We formed the union in April as the company denied us many rights. After that we were sacked and we challenged it in court,” he said.
Yunus’ lawyer, Kazi Ershadul Alam, said his client will address the matter through the legal process.
“Professor Yunus is now abroad. We will take steps as per law once he returns,” the attorney said.
Yunus, known as “banker to the poor,” won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 along with Grameen Bank, the pioneer micro-lending institution he founded.
Grameen Communications is not part of Grameen Bank.
Yunus has maintained a tense relationship with the Bangladeshi authorities since 2010, when a documentary exposed an alleged illegal transfer of funds between two entities of the Grameen Group.
This is not the first time that Yunus has faced legal trouble.
In 2011, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina dismissed him as head of Grameen Bank and Yunus’ attempt to get the courts to overturn the decision was unsuccessful.