Appeals court extends the ex-MP’s sentence by 3 years
With a Kuwaiti court extending his term in prison, former Bangladeshi MP Shahidul Islam alias Kazi Papul will now have to spend seven years behind bars.
An appeals court sentenced Papul, who was earlier imprisoned for four years, to another three-year term, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas reported on Monday.
He was also fined around two million Kuwaiti dinars (Tk56.32 crore) in the case.
Earlier in January, Papul was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 1.9 million Kuwaiti dinars for bribery and human trafficking.
As the lawmaker filed an appeal petition challenging the verdict, the court added three more years to his prison term.
Apart from Papul, the court handed down jail terms for three more accused – Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah, the former deputy secretary general of Kuwait's Home Ministry, Salah Khorshid, a former lawmaker, and a government official of Kuwait.
However, it acquitted MP Saadoun Hammad, a current member of the Kuwaiti parliament, of the charges in the case.
The trial of Kazi Papul and eight others began in mid-September last year.
According to an earlier report by Al Qabas, 20,000 Bangladeshi workers were brought to Kuwait by Papul in exchange of more than 50 million Kuwaiti dinars.
Following Papul's arrest on June 7, in Kuwait city, on charges of human trafficking and money laundering, Kuwait also suspended the major general in connection with his alleged links to human trafficking and the visa trading business of Papul.
Al Jarrah took a hefty amount of bribe from Papul, who disclosed the matter while being interrogated by the Kuwaiti authorities.
Papul was accused of bringing in thousands of Bangladeshis into Kuwait in exchange of money, usually ranging from around 1,500 to 2,000 Kuwaiti dinars.
Besides human trafficking and money laundering, the Kuwaiti prosecutors charged MP Papul with torturing employees of his company, based on complaints from five Bangladeshi migrant workers subjected to trafficking.
The incident stirred a political furore in Kuwait.
A migrant worker recruiter, Papul, who runs the Marafie Kuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO, resided in Kuwait under the country’s Aliens Residence Law.
The Bangladeshi lawmaker confessed to bribing Kuwaiti officials and his statement was published in the media.
According to reports, Papul had an annual net profit of around two million Kuwaiti dinars after all the bribes and money spent on gifts in exchange for facilitating transactions and paperwork to bring in workers from Bangladesh.
Earlier on December 27 last year, a Dhaka court ordered freezing 617 bank accounts of Papul, his wife Selina Islam, their daughter Wafa Islam and Papul's sister-in-law Jesmin Prodhan.
Papul won the Lakshmipur 2 seat in the 2018 election as an independent candidate. He also launched a successful bid to bring his wife to parliament as an MP from one of the seats reserved for women.