Govt seeks to bar Prof Yunus from going abroad
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) filed a petition with the High Court yesterday challenging the Labour Appellate Tribunal's order that stayed the conviction and sentence of Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus and three others in a labour law violation case.
Tariqul Islam, an inspector under the DIFE, who investigated the case, submitted the criminal revision petition to the HC through its lawyer, Adv Khurshid Alam Khan.
In the petition, he prayed to the HC to pass an order so that Prof Yunus and three others cannot go abroad without permission from the court concerned until the Labour Appellate Tribunal disposes of their appeals, Adv Khurshid told The Daily Star.
Citing the petition, he said an appellate court cannot stay the conviction and sentence delivered by a trial court to any convict under the relevant rules of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
He also said that the appellate court can stay the order of only a fine, adding that the HC bench led by Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder may hold a hearing on the revision petition today.
Meanwhile, Dr Yunus's lawyer Barrister Abdullah Al Mamun told The Daily Star that the revision petition was filed to harass Prof Yunus and three others.
Prof Yunus, a well-known international figure, will travel abroad to attend seminars that will help elevate the country's standing, and barring him from going abroad will damage the country's image, he said.
He stated that DIFE is concerned with workers' benefits in factories and establishments and that such a petition is typically filed against political figures and in connection with sedition cases.
Mamun added that the DIFE's revision petition appears to have been filed outside of the scope of the labour law.
On January 28, the Labour Appellate Tribunal's order granted bail to Prof Yunus and three other top officials of Grameen Telecom in the labour law violation case following separate appeals filed by them.
The tribunal accepted the appeals and also stayed till March 3 the lower court's verdict that convicted and sentenced each of them to six months' jail.
On January 1, Sheikh Merina Sultana, chairman of the Third Labour Court of Dhaka, sentenced Yunus, chairman of Grameen Telecom, and its directors Ashraful Hassan, Nurjahan Begum, and M Shahjahan to six months in jail.
Soon after the verdict, the court granted bail to all four for a month, following separate bail pleas.
The four were also fined Tk 30,000 each, in default of which they would have to serve 25 more days in prison.
Further, the court directed them to comply with the relevant sections of the Labour Act 2006 within a month.
The sections of the labour law under which the case was filed carry a maximum of six months' imprisonment.
On September 9, 2021, Labour Inspector (General) SM Arifuzzaman filed the case against Yunus and the three others.
According to the case documents, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments officials inspected the Grameen Telecom office in the capital's Mirpur on August 16, 2021, and found several violations of labour laws there.