Ex-MP Papul’s sentence final
Kuwait's top appeals court yesterday upheld former MP Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul's sentence of seven years in prison and fine of Kuwaiti Dinar 2.7 million in a sensational human trafficking case.
The Court of Cassation also ordered the defendant to be deported after he had served his time. The rulings are final, reported the Gulf News.
In the same case, the court handed down similar jail terms to Kuwaiti undersecretary of the interior ministry Maj Gen Mazen Al Jarrah and manpower director Hassan Al Khedr and ordered their sacking from their government posts on charges of bribery.
The court also sentenced former Kuwaiti MP Salah Khurshed to seven years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of KD 740,000.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Kuwait Maj Gen Md Ashikuzzaman said he was yet to receive any official communication from Kuwait authorities on the court ruling.
Asked if such a verdict affected the relationship between Kuwait and Bangladesh, he responded in the negative.
"Yes, an individual case can create bad impression, but this is not going to affect our bilateral relationship."
In January this year, a Kuwaiti criminal court sentenced Kazi Papul, former independent lawmaker from Lakshmipur-2, to four years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of KD 1.9 million, prompting the Jatiya Sangsad to revoke his membership.
The defendants then went to the appeal court, which increased the fine to Kuwaiti Dinar 2.7 million (Tk 76 crore) and the imprisonment to seven years. They then sought a review and the appeals court gave the final verdict yesterday.
Papul was charged with receiving money from thousands of Bangladeshi workers in return for sending them to Kuwait through a company -- Marafie Kuwaitia Group -- he managed with illegal assistance from Kuwaiti officials.
He was also accused of labour exploitation and violation of the residence law.
He has reportedly amassed KD 5 million (Tk 141 crore) worth of assets in the Gulf country, reported Gulf News.
The Kuwaiti public prosecution contested the rulings handed down to the prime defendant and convicted accomplices and demanded tougher penalties.
Papul went to Kuwait in 1989 as a worker and eventually started working as a recruitment broker and later established multiple overseas recruitment agencies.
He had no involvement in politics at home before 2016.
He became an MP in 2018. His wife Selina Islam became an MP from the reserved seats for women.
The Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh earlier this year opened an enquiry into an allegation that Papul amassed Tk 1,400 crore by illegal means.