176 world leaders, including 105 Nobel laureates, have written a letter to the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, urging her to halt the judicial proceedings against Nobel laureate economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus. While influential global figures penned the letter, the content of the letter is steeped in questions surrounding the nation’s different legal framework.
Publication of the Letter
Notably, the letter addressed to the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, signed by 176 prominent global leaders, including 105 Nobel laureates, has been published in a WordPress subdomain titled “Protect Yunus.” This subdomain provides some insight into Dr. Yunus’s international connections. A Twitter account with the same name exists in the WordPress blog, with only 63 followers. Even the tweet regarding this blog post has garnered only five responses and two retweets. The question arises: Why was this significant letter disseminated through a WordPress subdomain? Furthermore, the lack of social media engagement suggests a limited interest among users of social media platforms in the subject matter of the letter.
You can also read: Why Dr. Yunus had to pay Tk12 crores tax?
Incongruities in the Letter’s Statements
While the letter includes names of important figures, its language suggests they might not have fully comprehended its content. It does not specify if any of them know the Constitution of Bangladesh or the legal implications of their statements. Although Bangladesh’s judicial jurisdiction does not encompass the signatories’ concerns, the question arises as to what extent a clear understanding of the legal context in Bangladesh informs the letter.
1. Recipient of the Letter: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
The letter’s recipients and the purpose behind sending it are subjects of discussion. Upon reading the full letter, it becomes apparent that the 176 prominent signatories are urging for a cessation of judicial proceedings against Dr Yunus. However, the letter has been sent to the honorable Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, who heads the executive branch of the state. It is noteworthy that since 2007, the bifurcation of the administrative and judicial divisions occurred with the historic Masdar Hossain case. Hence, the second sentence of the fourth paragraph of the letter, where the signatories request the Prime Minister’s intervention in “ending the judicial process,” raises questions regarding the extent of her authority in this matter.
2. Dr. Yunus’s Human Rights vs. Workers’ Rights
The third paragraph of the letter mentions that the signatories perceive a threat to human rights in the ongoing case against Dr Yunus. While the concept of such a personalized interpretation of human rights is novel, it is evident that they had introduced this notion before. Among the 176 prominent figures, those who have signed the letter, it can be assumed that they have scrutinized the documents of the ongoing case and concluded that the allegations are not accurately presented. Hence, it raises the question of whether these prominent figures are aware of the plight of workers who have faced suppression because of Dr Yunus’s Grameen Bank and Grameen Telecom.
3. Regarding the Accused and Legal Proceedings: Is filing a case against the accused judicial harassment?
Another statement in the third paragraph does not hold in any legal context. The signatories have conveyed that they are concerned about the legal process against Dr Yunus and “believe” that he is a victim of judicial harassment. Firstly, it is a universal principle that the law applies to everyone in any country. Any allegation against someone does not consider their social, national, or international status in court. This is the fundamental principle of establishing the rule of law. The ongoing legal actions against Dr Yunus are based on specific allegations. Dr Yunus faces several sensitive cases, including labor law violations and tax evasion. The case where Dr. Yunus has been accused are quite sensitive. Therefore, they haven’t provided any evidence against their statement.
Secondly, while writing the word ‘judicial harassment’ in the letter, they did not mention the context of what they came to such a decision. Thousands of people fell into the trap of Dr Yunus’s Grameen Bank and Grameen Telecom. Do they have no right to justice? Moreover, there is no indication in the entire letter that they signed after reviewing all the case documents. So, how did they understand that Yunus is being subjected to judicial harassment?
4. Comments on the ‘Subject under Trial’ and the Judges:
In the fourth paragraph of the letter, the signatories have made comments that contradict the laws of Bangladesh, expressing contempt of court. In a significant part of the first sentence of the paragraph, it is stated, “followed by a review of the charges by a panel of impartial judges,” which means they do not consider the current panel of judges impartial. Even if, hypothetically, through sufficient research, they have come to this decision after analyzing the sequences and nature of the case, the question arises: are they not aware that such a statement is contemptuous of the court’s authority in Bangladesh? Article 94(4) of Chapter VI of our constitution states, “The Chief Justice and other Judges shall have independence in the exercise of their functions,” but it is not understandable on which ground they are claiming that the current judges are not independent. For example, if someone from Bangladesh claims that impartial legal experts do not conduct Trump’s trial in the American court, is this argument legitimate?
Dr. Yunus and Democratic Leadership:
Among the 176 signatories, 105 are Nobel laureates. However, the surprising fact is that among these 105, 64 are Nobel winners under Democratic rule. In other words, 61% of Nobel laureates among the signatories have been awarded under Democratic rule. Dr. Yunus’s relationship with Democrats is quite strong due to various reasons. He even contributed significant funds to Hillary Clinton’s election campaign. Among the signatories who are Nobel laureates, the question is, have they signed due to the influence of Democrats?
Uncovering Dr. Yunus’ perspective on alms and Bangladesh’s legal framework reveals an array of nuanced interactions. The complicated interaction between worldwide recognition and local subtleties comes to light as luminaries urge to halt legal proceedings.