Kazi Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul, the former Bangladeshi lawmaker who was imprisoned for four years in Kuwait, will now languish in jail for seven years in total as an Appeal Court has sentenced him another three years of imprisonment.
At the same time, he has been fined around Tk56.32 crore (KWD20 lakh) in the case, reports Al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti newspaper, Ataul Gani, general secretary of a fraction of Kuwait Awami League, and several foreign ministry officials confirmed the matter to The Business Standard on Monday.
On 28 January, a Kuwait court sentenced Papul to four-year imprisonment, after around seven months of trial in a case filed for bribery and human trafficking. The court also fined Papul Tk53 crore (KWD19 lakh).
Papul filed an appeal petition challenging the verdict and the court has sentenced him to three more years in jail against the allegation of human trafficking.
Apart from Papul, the court awarded 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 the accused Saadoun Hammad, a current member of the Kuwaiti Parliament.
Kazi Papul, an independent lawmaker from the Lakshmipur-2 constituency, was arrested in Kuwait on 6 June last year over allegations of human trafficking and illegal visa trade.
Based on the complaints from at least five Bangladeshi nationals who claimed to have been trafficked, the Kuwaiti prosecutors charged Papul with human trafficking, money laundering, bribing the Kuwaiti officials, illegal visa trade and torture on expatriates.
The Kuwaiti authorities had earlier frozen his bank accounts and shut down all of his business enterprises including the Marafi Kuwatia Group. The Bangladeshi lawmaker was the managing director of the group.
On 28 January, Kuwait's criminal court sentenced four years of imprisonment to Papul, around eight months after Kuwait's Criminal Investigation Department arrested him. Consequently, his membership in the National Parliament of Bangladesh was cancelled.
It could not be known if Papul's fine was increased or decreased by the Appeal Court.
He was accused of human trafficking, money laundering and bribing Kuwaiti officials with millions of dollars to recruit Bangladeshi workers and get contracts for his company, labour exploitation and also a violation of the residence law.
Later, on 22 February, Lakshmipur-2 lawmaker Kazi Papul – who was elected in the 11th national parliamentary election in 2018 – had been stripped of his membership of parliament on grounds of moral turpitude. Consequently, the constituency had been announced vacant and the election commission announced a by-poll which would be scheduled after the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the allegations in Bangladesh Papul and his wife, also a lawmaker from reserved seats, Salina Islam, daughter Wafa Islam, sister-in-law Jasmin Pradhan and other family members have been facing three different cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and Criminal Investigation Department over money laundering and human trafficking.