Obama, Other Global Figures Warn Bangladesh of Nobel Laureate’s ‘Harassment’

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More than 160 prominent figures from around the world, including Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon, have come together to publish a joint letter expressing concern over the “threats to democracy and human rights” in Bangladesh ahead of the upcoming elections.

The letter specifically highlights the ongoing “judicial harassment” faced by Nobel laureate and micro-credit pioneer Muhammad Yunus, with concerns heightened regarding his safety and freedom.

Yunus, who is 83 years old, is widely credited for his efforts in lifting millions out of poverty. However, tensions have arisen between him and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has accused Yunus of “sucking blood” from the poor.

In 2006, Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work promoting economic development.

National elections in Bangladesh are scheduled to take place by the end of January. However, various rights groups and foreign governments have repeatedly raised concerns over the government’s attempts to silence criticism and suppress political dissent under Prime Minister Hasina’s leadership.

The joint letter states, “We are deeply concerned by the threats to democracy and human rights that we have observed”. This letter follows a previous appeal made by 40 world leaders in March.

It further emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the upcoming national elections are conducted in a fair and free manner.

The letter has been signed by over 100 Nobel laureates, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U2 singer Bono, and East Timorese leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jose Ramos-Horta. It comes in response to the numerous civil suits that have been filed against Yunus.

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