Saudi court pardons Naushad

Updated on Jan 23, 2006 11:31 PM IST

Ahead of the Saudi king's visit to India, a court has pardoned Naushad for partially blinding a Saudi national.

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None | ByIndo-Asian News Service, New Delhi

Ahead of the Saudi king's visit to India, a court in Saudi Arabia has pardoned an Indian national for partially blinding a Saudi national and spared him from having his eye gouged out as punishment.

"The victim has pardoned Naushad. This has been authenticated by a Saudi court," Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed told reporters in New Delhi on Monday.

The decision to pardon Naushad, currently held in a Saudi jail, was officially conveyed to Ahamed by Saudi Ambassador Saleh Mohammed Al-Ghamdi on Monday evening.

"We are very grateful to the Saudi government for this generous act," Ahamed said. "This is just the right gesture that will boost goodwill between the two countries."

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud will on Tuesday began a four-day official visit to India. He will be the chief guest at the country's Republic Day parade on January 26.

It will be the first visit by a Saudi monarch to India in 51 years.

The Saudi envoy on Sunday had assured that no harm would come to Naushad.

The accused and the victim Naif Utheibi had reached a compromise under which Naushad was pardoned, official sources said.

Naushad, working in a Saudi petrol station on the east coast of Dammam since 1995, was imprisoned three years ago after a scuffle with Utheibi, who eventually lost an eye.

India's external affairs ministry had sent an official mercy petition to the Saudi government in December.

Naushad's wife Suhaila, who met Ahamed in New Delhi on Monday morning, was elated on receiving the news.

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