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Indian immigrant jailed in Saudi Arabia pleads for help

Naushad has sought help from authorities in Kerala, as he might lose an eye as punishment under a Saudi law.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2005 14:46 IST

An Indian immigrant worker lodged in a jail in Saudi Arabia appealed via the local media on Monday for help as he was facing severe punishment.

Naushad, 34, pleaded with the media over telephone from the jail in Dammam to ask authorities in Kollam to help him, as he might lose one eye as punishment under a new Saudi law.

In April 2003, Naushad had damaged a Saudi national's eye in a tiff. The victim later lost his eyesight. According to the new law in the country, one of Naushad's eyes could be gouged out for "justice".

When Naushad put in a call to neighbours of his home in Kollam on Monday, a group of reporters was talking to his wife Sulekha and their two children, a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter.

"Please try to help me and do your best. If help does not come, I might lose one eye because the law here is like that," said a wailing Naushad, who used to work in a petrol filling station in Dammam.

Sulekha has threatened to commit suicide along with her children if her husband loses one eye.

"He was last here more than three years ago. He is in the jail since April 2003 and we manage here thanks to his friends who send us money," said Sulekha.

On Tuesday, Naushad's wife and family were to meet Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who has already taken up the issue with the Indian government.

A colleague of Naushad, currently on leave here, said that the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia was seized of the matter.

He added that there were reports that the 26-year-old Saudi victim had a chronic kidney problem from the age of 15.

"We are told that a panel of four doctors from Naushad's side and another four-doctor panel from the Saudi national's side would study the matter and decide how the victim lost his eyesight—because of the brawl with Naushad or because of his kidney ailment," said the colleague.

"The only person that can pardon Naushad is the victim. He, however, has been defiant so far. The forthcoming visit of the Saudi king could well save Naushad," expects his colleague.

India has invited King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, ruler of Saudi Arabia, to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade January 26.

First Published: Dec 05, 2005 14:46 IST