Parliament has received copies of the verdict by a Kuwaiti court jailing MP Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul for human trafficking and money laundering

“Parliament has received the verdict copies. We’ve begun working on them. The speaker will take the final decision on the matter,” Parliament Secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan said on Friday.

“A decision will be made in line with the constitution and parliamentary rules of business after reviewing the judgment,” said Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said at a programme that the 61-page verdict was in English and Arabic.

“We’ve forwarded them to the home minister and the speaker. They will now take action following the rules,” he said.

The Kuwaiti court on Jan 28 sentenced Shahid to four years in jail in the first such punishment of a sitting Bangladeshi MP by a foreign court.

Former law minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed said at the time that Shahid has lost the eligibility to retain his membership of parliament.

Parliament will have to declare Shahid’s seat vacant following Article 66 of the constitution once it gets a copy of the verdict, said Shafique.

According to Article 66 of the constitution, a person shall be disqualified for election as, or for being, a member of parliament who has been, on conviction for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.

Shahid, the MP of Lakshmipur-2 seat, was arrested in Kuwait on Jun 6 last year.

Besides human trafficking and money laundering, the Kuwaiti prosecutors charged him with torturing employees of his company, based on the complaints from five Bangladeshi nationals subjected to trafficking. The incident stirred a political furore in Kuwait.

Worker recruiter Shahid runs the Marafie Kuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO.

The Bangladesh MP confessed to bribing Kuwaiti officials and his statement has been published in the media.

Having travelled to Kuwait as a migrant worker, Shahid now owns a business empire there. He also has a sizable number of shares of NRB Commercial Bank, founded by expatriate Bangladeshi entrepreneurs.

His company Marafie Kuwaitia used to recruit cleaners but later he started other businesses in Kuwait. Shahid had a licence called ‘general trading and contracting’ which enabled him to run a business of many products ranging from children’s toys to antique carpet.

Shahid won the election in the 2018 as an independent candidate. He also launched a successful bid to bring his wife Salina Islam to parliament as a reserved-seat MP.

Kuwait authorities have frozen his bank accounts. Bangladesh is also investigating him and his wife.

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