Malayalis raising Rs 34cr for release of man on Saudi death row is 'The Real Kerala Story': CM

Abdul Rahim (left) and the poster shared by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the success of the crowdfunding initiative.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has hailed the 'indomitable spirit' of Malayalis that shone through a massive crowdfunding drive to help the release of a Kozhikode native on death row in Saudi Arabia.

Vijayan has called it 'The Real Kerala Story', alluding to the controversial Bollywood movie by the same name that has been widely criticised for insulting the secular credentials of the state.

"In the face of relentless hate campaigns targeting Kerala, the indomitable spirit of Malayalis shines through, upholding together Kerala's resilience and compassion," posted Vijayan on the social media platform X, also called Twitter.

"Abdul Rahim's story, a Keralite facing execution in Saudi Arabia, symbolizes this resistance. With 34 crore rupees raised for his release, Kerala's commitment to its people and values is crystal clear, shattering divisive lies," Vijayan posted.

An action committee formed to raise the sum for Rahim's release had launched a mobile application 'SAVEABDULRAHIM'. The representatives of the committee announced the success of the mission at a press conference on Friday.

Abdul Rahim's mother Fathima talks to media persons after the success of the crowdfunding drive. Photo: Screengrab/Manorama News

Rahim was a driver in Saudi Arabia, where his duties included caring for a differently-abled teenager. Rahim was convicted after the boy died under his watch. He was found guilty of detaching a medical device that assisted the boy's breathing.

He was sentenced to death in 2018 under Saudi law; the verdict was upheld by an appeal court in 2022 and ratified by the country's Supreme Court. The sentence was put on hold after the deceased's family agreed to accept diya (blood money). An amount of 15 million Saudi Riyals (approximately Rs 33.24 crore) was agreed upon. The deal was signed on October 16, 2023, and its validity ends on April 16.

"Gratitude to all those who joined hands for this humanitarian cause. United, we'll continue sharing the Real Kerala Story of compassion and truth," posted Vijayan.

'Thanks to everyone'
Rahim's mother Fathima said she was thankful to everyone that helped raise the sum. "Let my son return home as soon as possible. All of you helped. I never thought such a huge sum could be collected so soon. I didn't celebrate the festival (Ramadan) for the last 18 years. We can celebrate when he returns. I can't wait to see him again," an emotional Fathima told media persons.

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