Bangladesh lawmaker arrested in Kuwait for human trafficking and money laundering

Mohammad Shahid Islam has been in jail since 6 June. His bail request was denied. The Bangladesh embassy sent a letter to Kuwaiti authorities asking for clarification, with no reply so far. The accused owns a company involved in engineering, contracting, logistics and management.

Kuwait City (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Kuwait authorities on Saturday arrested Mohammad Shahid Islam, a Bangladeshi lawmaker, at his home in Mushrif, a residential area of ​​Kuwait City, on charges of human trafficking and money laundering.

Kuwait’s residence investigation department carried out the arrest. The Public Prosecution remanded him in custody the next day, but information about the case became public only after the Bangladeshi embassy was informed.

Mr Islam has been denied bail, but Bangladeshi diplomatic sources note that he has not been formally indicted.

Bangladeshi Ambassador Abul Kalam said he received news of the arrest from “one of the brothers” of Mr Islam and that “we are yet to receive any reply” to the letter he sent to Kuwaiti authorities for clarification.

According to al-Qabas, a local newspaper, Islam is suspected of involvement in human trafficking and money laundering.

The lawmaker, an MP from Laxmipur, owns Marafie Kuwaitia Group, a company active in the Gulf region in engineering, contracting, logistics and management.

He is said to have profited from his status as a lawmaker to exploit his compatriots, using them for illegal gain.

The accusations are based on the testimony of five Bangladeshi migrant workers, who said that they had to pay 3,000 dinars to come to Kuwait to work, plus annual sums paid to renew their residency visas.

The lawmaker is managing director and CEO of Marafie Kuwaitia Group, which operates in Kuwait, Oman and Jordan.

A foreign ministry official in Dhaka told Arab News that Islam was in Kuwait on an “ordinary passport” instead of a “red passport,” which is a privilege for the lawmakers of the country.

In February, Islam, also known as Kazi Papul, dismissed as “false and imaginary” allegations that he trafficked humans to Kuwait.