A federal grand jury indicted a husband, wife and five others for two brutal kidnappings and a sexual assault that took place last year in Queens.
Abu Chowdhury and his wife Iffat Lubna, both Bangledishi, were accused in July of luring another Bangladeshi man to meet near a restaurant in May, kidnapping him, beating him, ransoming him for $20,000 and sodomizing him until he bled when the money was not paid, according to prosecutors.
“The sadistic nature and circumstances of the crime suggest that the defendants’ motivations lied beyond monetary gain,” prosecutors wrote in a detention memo. “Rather, the defendants chose to continue torturing the victim, suggesting that their overruling motivations were to exact pain and humiliation.”
Lubna allegedly knew the victim from school, according to prosecutors. The victim was only able to escape by chewing through his restraints and breaking open a window, authorities said.
In the indictment unsealed Thursday, prosecutors alleged another kidnapping two months earlier in March and the participation of five more Bangladeshi individuals: Syed Rubel Ahmed, Shahed Alom, Anzu Khan, Sultana Razia and an unnamed person who is still at large.
In the March kidnapping, Chowdhury, Rubel Ahmed, Alom, Khan and Razia are accused of kidnapping another victim and beating him, stripping him and filming him standing naked in a residential neighborhood. He was allegedly beaten over the next 13 hours and finally drugged, waking up in the hospital, authorities alleged.
Officials are asking for more potential victims to come forward.
“The defendants allegedly exploited their shared ethnic background with the victims in furtherance of the crimes,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement. “I urge anyone who believes they were victims of these defendants to contact the United States Attorney’s Office.”
An attorney for Chowdhury did not immediately respond to request for comment. Lubna’s attorney declined to comment. Attorney information for the others was not immediately available.
Officials said Chowdhury, a grocery store owner, has pending cases for attempting to strangle his ex-wife and violating a protection order.
Prosecutors did not indicate a motive for the alleged crimes. Chowdhury and Lubna were released from detention into home confinement in December.