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Monday 22 December  
Muhammad Yunus outside the court
News Desk's picture
Mymensnigh, Bangladesh
Mymensnigh, Bangladesh

Microloan banker Yunus released on bail

Published on : 18 January 2011 - 12:31pm | By RNW News Desk (Photo: AFP)
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Bangladesh microfinancier Muhammad Yunus has been released on bail after appearing on libel charges before a judge in Mymensnigh, near Dhaka. He had been accused of slandering a number of Bangladeshi politicians in a 2007 interview with French press agency AFP.

Mr Yunus allegedly said that about politicians that "They are only after money. Their politics has nothing to do with ideology." A representative of a small leftwing party, Nazrul Islam Chunnu, lodged a defamation complaint against the micro banker, whose main claim to fame is supplying micro loans to poor people who want to start their own business. Mr Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 in recognition of his initiatives to make credits accessible to the poor.

Over 500 people had gathered outside the bank on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of Yunus, who remains very popular in Bangladesh.

The court released him on bail "because his lawyers said he is an important international person, and he can't possibly be in court every day", according to a court spokespersron. Yunus will be allowed to send a representative when the court is next dealing with his case on 20 February.

Tax evasion
In another case, a judge ordered a thorough investigation of Mr Yunus' Grameen Bank. A Norway TV documentary reported a misuse of Norwegian aid money by the bank. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed is also targeting Grameen Bank, accusing microcredit organisations of "sucking the poor" and claiming that Mr Yunus is evading taxes.

The investigation of Yunus and his Grameen Bank coincide with criticism in India of microfinance. Bangladesh's neighbour said that the microloan banks are exploiting the poor and are imposing usurious interests.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide


jasmin 20 January 2011 - 5:36pm / India

Reports not based on facts? Only the people of Bangladesh can judge Yunus reports are often not true..

Md. Mujibul Alam Khan 19 January 2011 - 6:23pm

Microcredit failed as a catalyst to eradicate poverty due to corruption among government agencies and politicians in Bangladesh. As a result 'Microcredit' was used as a tool to exploit economic and political conditions of the developing countries by the dominant economies of the West. The EU and USA created a crisis of democracy in 2007 using the army in Bangladesh. And then they tried to install Yunus as the president of Bangladesh as a ploy to gradually wipe out major political parties like Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Yunus's illusion in 2007 turned out to be a harsh reality in 2011.

However, appearance of Yunus at court is a testimony that everyone is accountable to the law. Politicians should take note of it.

Anonymous 18 January 2011 - 4:27pm / Australia

I have to dispute this article either the reporter just made up the part about "Over 500 people had gathered outside the bank on Tuesday" or they can't distinguish between the Grameen Bank and the courtroom, because personally having spent a regular day in the Grameen HQ today there were less than 5 people standing around! Though there could have quite possibly been 500 at the courts but I will allow someone else to prove/disprove that.

Sean 18 January 2011 - 4:23pm / Bangladesh

hahaha ummmm, i'm doing an internship at Grameen Bank. I was there today, along with about 10 other interns, all of whom are sitting beside me as of this very moment. We are all in agreement that there was no gathering of any size whatsoever outside the bank. Business as usual i'm afraid to say.

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