DHAKA: Bangladeshi lawmaker Mohammed Shahid Islam, arrested in Kuwait by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the country, was taken to jail late on Sunday, according to sources at Bangladesh’s embassy in Kuwait.
Islam, an independent member of Bangladesh’s parliament, was arrested at his residence in Mushrif, Kuwait City, around 9:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, an embassy official told Arab News.
“The judicial authority of Kuwait denied Islam’s bail petition when he applied for it on Sunday afternoon, and subsequently he was sent to jail,” the official added.
S.M. Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s ambassador to Kuwait, said the mission authorities were still unsure of the charges leveled against Islam.
“I was informed about the arrest of the Bangladeshi parliamentarian on Saturday night by one of his brothers who resides in Kuwait. We wrote a letter to Kuwaiti authorities to update us about the charges against Islam. However, we are yet to receive any reply,” Kalam told Arab News on Monday.
Due to the coronavirus disease pandemic, most institutions in Kuwait are closed, which may cause delays in the exchange of information, the envoy said.
Al-Qabas, a news media outlet, reported on Sunday that Islam was arrested on allegations of human trafficking and money laundering.
It added that he jointly owns a company in Kuwait named Marafie Kuwaitia Group, which operates in sectors such as engineering, contracting, logistics and facility management. Islam, it said, runs the company as the managing director, and does business in Kuwait, Oman and Jordan.
A foreign ministry official in Dhaka told Arab News that Islam was staying in Kuwait on an “ordinary passport” instead of “red passport” which is a privilege for the lawmakers of the country.
“In such a situation, the law will take its own course, no matter who the person is. But as of today, we don’t have much information in hand about the arrest. We are very much concerned about the news since he is a lawmaker of the country,” F. M. Borhan Uddin, director general of the Middle East wing of Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry, told Arab News.
“Currently, we are not sure in which direction the situation is moving regarding the arrest of the parliamentarian,” Borhan Uddin added.
Islam’s arrest in Kuwait created concern among his peers in Bangladesh’s parliament.
“On grounds of involvement in immoral activities, if he is convicted by the court (and sentenced to) at least 2 years of imprisonment, the lawmaker will lose his position as a member of the parliament,” Fazle Rabbi Miah, deputy speaker of Bangladesh’s parliament, told Arab News.
However, he couldn’t be sure whether the allegations of human trafficking and money laundering would fall under the purview of “immoral” category or not.
Islam’s wife, Selina Islam, who is also a member of parliament, denied the allegations against her husband.
“The media reports about the arrest of Shahid Islam in Kuwait were not correct. He is not accused in any case there. The Kuwaiti government has summoned him to a CID government office to discuss his business as per their rules,” she claimed through a statement on Sunday afternoon.