Nobel laureate Yunus in Bangladesh court

DHAKA, January 18, 2011 (AFP) – Nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus appeared in a Bangladesh court on Tuesday in a defamation case dating back to 2007, posing further legal problems for the microfinance pioneer in his homeland. Last week, the government ordered a probe into Yunus’s Grameen Bank, with which he shared the Nobel prize in 2006, in the latest sign of friction between him and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Hasina, who recently accused microfinance groups of “sucking blood from the poor,” first clashed with Yunus in 2007 when he set up his own short-lived political party.

In that year, he gave an interview to AFP in which he said Bangladesh’s politics was simply about the “power to make money,” prompting a defamation complaint by a low-ranking official of a minor left-leaning party.

The case has lain dormant since 2007, but Yunus was Tuesday summoned to court in Memensingh district, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Dhaka, where he appeared for about 10 minutes.

“I appeared before a court today in response to a summons,” Yunus told AFP by email. “I believe that the courts are here to deliver justice, and look forward to this matter being resolved soon.”

Asked if he had now distanced hims