ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi judicial authorities on Monday released details from a case on the freeing of 44 expatriate workers who were held for ransom by a gang in Baghdad.
According to the judiciary, a nine-member gang kidnapped 44 Bengali workers and demanded hefty payments from their relatives in Bangladesh in exchange for their release.
Six members of the gang were arrested a few days ago, interrogated, and then confessed to the Karrada Investigation Court in Baghdad, the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council (HJC) said in a statement. The search is still underway for three more suspects, both Bengali and Iraqi.
The Bangladeshi embassy in Baghdad had learned about the locations believed to hold the detainees and forwarded the information to the court, the HJC added.
The statement said that “the defendants were bargaining the families of the victims in Bangladesh with the need to pay money for the release of the detainees, who came to Iraq for work.”
After that, the court issued warrants for property inspection, one of which security services raided where they managed to free the kidnapped individuals. The six suspects were also captured on location, the HJC said.
The council also said the detainees “were subjected to physical torture” and were in detention “for two months at the house.”
The defendants were running a business that employed foreign workers in Iraq, according to the statement, which added that “the detainees were examined medically after their liberation and then handed over to the Embassy of Bangladesh.”
The defendants were arrested under the Anti-Trafficking Act.
The statement did not specify when the operation to free the workers had taken place.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany