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Shahid Papul loses appeal to retain parliament seat after jailing in Kuwait

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-06-17 19:05:09 BdST

The Supreme Court has upheld a High Court verdict dismissing a plea that sought to preserve Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul's membership of parliament following his conviction in Kuwait. 

A six-strong Appellate Division bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, on Thursday also refused to pass an order on the appeal to halt Laxmipur-2 by-election scheduled for Jun 21 after Shahid lost the seat for his jailing.

Shahid's sister Nurunnahar Begum and nominee Shahadat Hossain filed the appeals after the High Court on Jun 8 tossed out their writ petition challenging parliament and Election Commission’s decisions.

Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul (File photo)

Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul (File photo)

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

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

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

Shahid is the first Bangladeshi lawmaker to be stripped of his parliamentary seat over a criminal conviction abroad.

In the writ petition, it was argued that the provisions of the Constitution of Bangladesh were not applicable in this case as the sentence was not handed down by a Bangladeshi court.

But the state contended that Article 66(2)(d) of the Constitution does not specifically mention anything about the jurisdiction in which the sentence is passed. It does, however, address conviction for a ‘criminal offence’ and as a result, the provision is applicable to Shahid.