The New York police on Monday arrested a Bangladeshi diplomat on charges of forcing his servant to work for his family in Queens without pay and assaulting him on several occasions.
Md Shaheldul Islam (45), deputy consul general of Bangladesh, faced a 33-count indictment for grand larceny, assault, labour trafficking and unlawful imprisonment, failure to pay the minimum wage and harassment, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
The Bangladeshi diplomat was arraigned before a Queens Supreme Court judge, who set bail at a US$50,000 bond or US$25,000 cash and ordered Islam to surrender his passport and return to court on June 28, 2017.
Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh consul general in New York, other colleagues and relatives arranged a US$50,000 bond for Shahedul. But it will take 24 hours for him to be released.
Talking to media, Shameem Ahsan said we informed the State Department of the US after his house help had escaped from Shahedul’s residence last year.
“As the deputy consul general was supposed to recruit and pay for his house help personally, we were not aware about not paying his wage. However, we will stand by Shahedul as per existing tradition,” he added.
“It is surprising for us that after 13 months he has appeared with these allegations, why did he not raise this issue earlier,” he further added.
Shamim Ahmad, spokesman for the Bangladesh embassy in Washington, told media that Amin, the house help, had filed the case out of ill motive and the allegations were fabricated and baseless.
“It may be noted that Mr Islam decided to cancel Amin’s contract and was preparing to send him back to Bangladesh due to his irresponsible acts,” said Shamim.
“We hope the court will give its verdict on the matter judiciously,” he said.
The Bangladeshi diplomat will face up to 15 years in prison if convicted and has only limited diplomatic immunity, the district attorney’s office said.