Kozhikode man's release from Saudi jail: Blood money raised through crowdfunding handed over to MEA

Abdul Rahim
Abdul Rahim. File Photo: Special Arrangment

Kozhikode: The family of a Kozhikode man who is on death row in Saudi Arabia is eagerly waiting for his return as the action committee successfully raised Rs 34.35 crore through a crowdfunding for his release. The action committee formed under a trust conducted the crowdfunding campaign called 'Save Abdul Rahim' to raise the blood money. The trust representatives here on Thursday reportedly transferred the amount to the Ministry of External Affairs of India (MEA) for depositing in the Saudi court. MEA representatives will hand over the money to the family of the deceased Saudi boy who filed a case against Kodampuzha native Abdul Rahim. In their complaint, they alleged that Rahim's lapses led to the death of the boy.

The trust deposited Rs. 34.35 crore which is equivalent to 1.5 million Saudi Riyal in the account of the MEA through NEFT. Trust chairman K Suresh, convenor KK Alikkutty and treasurer Gireesh completed the formalities for the money transaction as directed by the Indian Embassy in Saudi.

The latest development is considered a crucial move to save Abdu Rahim from death row in a foreign land. Once the deceased Saudi boy's family receives the blood money, legal procedures related to Rahim's release may come to its final stage.

Story of Abdul Rahim
Rahim, a former auto driver from Feroke in Kozhikode, ventured to Saudi Arabia in 2006 seeking better prospects. There, he was employed as a house-driver in Riyadh, where part of his duties included caring for a differently-abled 15-year-old boy within the household. A fateful incident unfolded when Rahim was driving with the boy one day. At a traffic signal, the boy urged Rahim to move the car forward ignoring the red light. When he refused, the situation escalated as the boy began spitting and beating him. During the altercation, Rahim unintentionally touched a medical device attached to the boy's shoulder. The device, which helped the boy to breathe, fell inside the car. The boy eventually went unconscious and died.

The death sentence came in 2018 under the Saudi law for murder, after the boy’s family refused to grant amnesty. The appeal court upheld this verdict in 2022, a decision later confirmed by the country's Supreme Court.

Currently, the execution of Rahim's sentence has been temporarily halted by the court, following an agreement with the deceased boy's family to accept diya (blood money) instead. The agreed amount is 15 million Saudi riyals, approximately Rs 33.24 crore, which must be paid within six months from the deal's signing on October 16, 2023.

A group of people launched the fundraising campaign 'Save Abdul Rahim' under a trust. The campaign which touted as the biggest humanitarian crowdfunding in Kerala raised around Rs 34.45 crore. Out of this, 31.93 crore was received through bank deposits while the remaining Rs. 2.52 crore was handed over to Abdul Rahim's mother by individuals and voluntary groups. Businessman and philanthropist Bobby Chemmanur also donated around 1 crore collected through his 'Yachana Yatra'.

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