Bangladesh summons U.S. diplomat to protest arrest of envoy in New York

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s foreign ministry summoned a United States diplomat on Tuesday to express dismay over the arrest of the country’s deputy consul general in New York on charges of labor trafficking and assault.

The deputy consul general Mohammed Shaheldul Islam was indicted on Monday on charges of using threats and intimidation to force his servant to work without pay, a New York City prosecutor said.

Islam has limited diplomatic immunity and was ordered to surrender his passport when he appeared in court, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Bail was set at $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash and was due to be posted on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, Islam brought another Bangladeshi, Ruhul Amin, to New York between 2012 and 2013 to work as household help.

Mahbub Uz Zaman, Dhaka’s acting foreign secretary, summoned the U.S. diplomat to the foreign ministry to ask for an explanation. “We have urged the U.S. to release Bangladesh’s deputy consul general,” he said without elaborating.

Shameem Ahsan, the Bangladeshi consul general in New York, told Reuters over the telephone from New York that Amin disappeared on May 17, 2016 but only made these allegations recently.

“It is surprising for us that after 13 months he has appeared with these allegations. Why did he not raise this issue earlier?” he said.

Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Editing by Tom Heneghan