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Man ‘held hostage and assaulted by up to 10 men over unpaid debt’

Bahrain News
Mon, 16 Jul 2018
By Reem Al Daaysi

A MAN was allegedly held hostage in Manama for four days and repeatedly assaulted, after an alleged loan shark demanded repayment of a debt.

The 30-year-old Bangladeshi was abducted and beaten by up to 10 men, a court heard.

His alleged captors, also from Bangladesh, forced him to contact his family and ask his relatives to hand over BD5,000 in exchange for his freedom.

However, the victim’s sister instead contacted police and seven of those allegedly responsible were arrested.

The victim told prosecutors that he borrowed BD500 from a loan shark, 48, in April.

“When the 48-year-old defendant called me for the money, I asked for a few days to pay it back,” he said.

“Every time I asked for an extension, the interest would increase.”


Wrongful

The seven in custody appeared at the High Criminal Court for the first time yesterday to plead not guilty to wrongful imprisonment.

In his statement, the victim said he was escorted to a meeting with the alleged loan shark on May 5 by some of the latter’s associates.

When he asked for another extension on the loan he said he was assaulted.

“A 31-year-old (defendant) punched me a few times in my face, while another punched my back and chest and slapped me a few times,” the victim told prosecutors.

“Then the 48-year-old asked the 31-year-old to videotape me, so they cleaned up my bloody face and taped me saying I owed the 48-year-old BD5,000 – and asked me to sign a paper and record my fingerprint, which I refused.”

However, he said he was forced to give his fingerprint and made to call his sister to ask for the money.

“The 31-year-old took my hand and forced me to record my fingerprint and asked for the money, which I did not have,” he said.

“They made me call my sister and ask her for BD5,000 to pay back the loan.”

The following day he said he was taken to a hotel in Hoora and, from there, to another building where he was held in a room on the roof.

“They made me call my sister and ask for BD3,000,” he said.

“Then the 31-year-old spoke to her saying if I don’t pay, big problems will happen to me.

“Then he slapped me a few times and left me in the room with one of them.

“The 31-year-old came back at midnight asking me to call my sister for BD1,600 and he started beating me using a wooden plank.

“While I was on the phone with her she heard my screams, so she said she will come up with the cash.”

“I stayed in the room until 5am on May 8 and they called my sister, who said she was only able to come up with BD100.”

She was then given one more day to come up with BD2,000, but she instead contacted the police.

Officers then swooped on the alleged loan shark’s office on May 9 when the handover was supposed to take place,

The 31-year-old who allegedly took part in the abduction told investigators the victim owed him BD1,800, in addition to money he owed several others.


Kidnap

“When I realised he won’t pay me back I agreed with other Bangladeshis to kidnap him and to make him pay back the money, which he also owed them,” he said in his statement.

“When we were at the 48-year-old’s office one of them suggested calling his sister in Bangladesh, beating him and yelling at him so she’d hear and send the money.

“We did hit him and someone I don’t know hit him with a wooden plank.

“We stayed with him the whole time to make sure he didn’t escape before giving us the money back.

“We didn’t force him to sign any papers; he signed them on his own as soon as we gave them to him.”

The trial was adjourned to September 9 for lawyers to review the case files.

reem@gdn.com.bh