Indian woman held in Saudi Arabia for husband’s 'murder'
An Indian doctor in Saudi Arabia has been in solitary confinement with her infant child for nearly 18 days pending investigations into her husband’s suspected murder, after he allegedly converted to Islam. Vinod Sharma reports. Timelineindia Updated: Apr 04, 2010 02:27 IST
An Indian doctor in Saudi Arabia has been in solitary confinement with her infant child for nearly 18 days pending investigations into her husband’s suspected murder, after he allegedly converted to Islam.
<b1>Her husband, also a doctor in Najran, died on January 31. Suspicion that he was poisoned was raised a month later despite certification by a legal medical specialist under the health ministry that cause of death was “myocardial infarction” (heart attack). The spanner came while the family was preparing to leave for India with the body following clearance by the Indian Consulate General in Jeddah.
HT is withholding the identity of the deceased and his wife on the request of their extended Delhi-based family.
On March 1, the doctor was summoned to a local police station and told that her husband had embraced Islam before his death and for that reason she could not carry the body to India. A fortnight later, she was again made to report to the police and put in solitary confinement with her infant son, born to her on February 18.
According to family members, she had no inkling of her husband having changed or planning to change his religion. He even now remains a Hindu in his travel papers and documents with his employer.
A section of the Saudi media has attributed his wife’s detention to another autopsy report stating that her husband died of poisoning.
"The report that’s the basis of so-called new evidence hasn’t been provided to the deceased’s family and colleagues or the Indian Consul General in Jeddah,” the family here claimed.
Traumatized by the ordeal of the young mother and her children, including a two-year-old daughter, the family is hoping against hope. On March 25, the Saudi Gazette reported that preliminary investigations had not brought out any foul play. It said the police were questioning the widow and another unnamed person.
The extended family, including the deceased’s brother, has petitioned Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor for help.
His office has since raised the issue with the Saudi mission here. While in Saudi Arabia earlier this week, Tharoor instructed Indian officials to pro-actively intervene in the matter.
“We are doing everything possible to help. But even engaging a lawyer to represent the case in faraway Najran is an expensive and difficult proposition,” a senior MEA official told Hindustan Times.
The doctor’s mother has been granted visa to be in Najran to take care of her granddaughter while her daughter remains in solitary detention with her son.
The doctor told her mother on being allowed a meeting that investigators had asked her who else was involved with her in the alleged crime.