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Cameron urged to save Saudi death row inmate

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The chopping of an Indian maid’s right hand for complaining of ill treatment and the plight of 21-year-old who is facing death by beheading and crucifixion for protesting against the King rekindle the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia….reports Asian Lite News

British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Asian Lite office in Manchester. Photo: Arun Jacob Thomas (File)
British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Asian Lite office in Manchester. Photo: Arun Jacob Thomas (File)

An Indian woman’s right arm was chopped off allegedly by her employer in Saudi Arabia because she had complained about harassment and torture. India has recorded its strong protest and asked the Saudi authorities to take action.

“This is unacceptable. We are very disturbed over the brutal manner in which the Indian lady has been treated in Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted this morning.

 

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, 21, has been sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion in Saudi Arabia, after being arrested for allegedly taking part in anti-government protests in 2012, when he was just 17.

His father Mohammed al-Nimr said that his son is among eight young men who have been sentenced to death, but insisted that he was “completely innocent” of the charges against him.

Saudi death row inmate Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. Ali is facing death by beheading and crucification
Saudi death row inmate Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. Ali is facing death by beheading and crucification

He is now appealing to David Cameron to intervene to save his son’s life. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister said Britain had raised concerns about the al-Nimr case with the Saudi authorities, adding that he would see whether he could find an opportunity to do so personally.

But the Saudi Embassy in Britain said it is an internal issue. A statement said: “The judiciary is an independent body and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects any form of interference in its internal affairs and any impingement on its sovereignty or the independence and impartiality of its judiciary.”

Mohammed al-Nimr told Channel 4 News: “I heard that Cameron has spoken about my son’s case. I see this a positive step. Our two countries have a warm and friendly relationship, so I expect this will lead to a good outcome. I hope that Cameron’s intervention will have a positive effect on the Saudi royal family.”

He added: “I want to thank Mr Cameron and the international community. I know we are all good friends so I believe that all these calls for my son’s release will be very welcome.

“Mr Cameron is a father too, so I know he understands what I am going through. I am so grateful to him and everyone else in the world who has campaigned on behalf of my son. I hope the matter can be resolved in a peaceful manner.”

Mr al-Nimr said he had last seen his son two weeks ago, when he seemed “resigned to his fate”.

He added: “I’m very worried now because they’ve moved my son to a prison in Riyadh and he is in solitary confinement. I expect that this can only mean bad news and I fear he could be executed at any moment.

“Dawoud al-Marhoon also faces the same fate as my son, but so do six others. So in total there are eight young men who have been sentenced to death.

“My son is completely innocent. He has denied all accusations against him and said so in court. My son is a peaceful man. They forced him to sign a confession for a crime he never committed.”

Plight of a house maid

Kasthuri Maniratnam
Kasthuri Maniratnam

On Tuesday last, 58-year-old Kashturi Munirathinam was trying to escape from the house where she worked as domestic help when her employer allegedly cut off her arm. Her family in Tamil Nadu says she was being tortured and starved by her employer.

“Kashturi’s employer was angry after she told local officials about the harassment she was facing there, she was not even provided food,” S Vijayakumari, sister of Ms Munirathinam, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

“When she tried to escape the harassment and torture, her right hand was chopped off by the woman employer. She fell down and suffered serious spinal injuries,” she said.

Ms Vijayakumari appealed to the government to bring her sister back from Riyadh, where she is recovering in hospital, and help with her treatment.

Kashturi had gone to Saudi Arabia to work as a domestic help only three months back.

Her relatives in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district claim they learnt about the incident “through agents who sent her to Saudi Arabia”. They also say they have a mobile phone video of her.

The Foreign Ministry said the Indian embassy in Riyadh had taken up the case with the Saudi Foreign Office and asked for attempt to murder charges against Kashturi’s employer.

 

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