A labour court in Dhaka yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus in connection with three cases filed over sacking of three employees of Grameen Communications.
Dhaka 3rd Labour Court Chairman Rahibul Islam passed the order as Dr Yunus, chairman of Grameen Communications, failed to appear before it despite an earlier summon order.
On July 3, Abdus Salam, Shah Alam and Emranul Haque -- former junior MIS officers of the company -- filed the cases against Dr Yunus and two others with the court as they were sacked in June for their role in forming a trade union at their workplace.
The two other Grameen Communications officials, summoned by the court, are Managing Director Naznin Sultana and Deputy General Manager Khandaker Abu Abedin.
Yesterday, they appeared before the court and filed two bail petitions, which the court granted.
On July 10, the court asked the trio to appear before it on October 8, which turned out to be a holiday. As a result, the day’s proceedings continued yesterday.
Kazi Ershadul Alam, a lawyer who is defending the three accused, said the Nobel laureate is out of the country at the moment so he could not attend the hearing in person. Once he returns, steps would be taken as per law.
He also said none of the accused had received any official court appearance order from the court. They only heard about it at the last moment.
Alam, an advocate of the Supreme Court, said the three employees used to work for Grameen Communications on a contractual basis. When their contracts were not renewed, they went on to file the criminal case.
The three employees, however, claimed that they were terminated as they wanted to form a trade union. But the directorate of labour did not entertain an application of a number of employees of Grameen Communications, including the three employees, to form the trade union, according to Alam.
Raju Ahmed Razib, a lawyer who represented Dr Yunus, Naznin Sultana and Abu Abedin yesterday, told The Daily Star, “We have also submitted a copy of Dr Yunus’ passport to the court to prove that he is outside the country. We informed the court that we have taken the liability to produce him before it once he returns.”
The court set the next hearing on October 30.