3 Mangaloreans Freed After 12 yrs in Saudi Jail
Jeddah: After repeated follow up by the India Fraternity Forum (a social organization of NRIs in Saudi Arabia), 3 of the 4 Mangaloreans who were in Jeddah Jail under STC illegal Call Routing (Hundi Calls) case have been freed last week from Jeddah Jail. After paying the negotiated fine amount to STC, Judge Saad Al Garni chairing the probe into the case has ordered the release of these 3 prisoners. Saudi officials confirmed that the accused Riyaz Bajpe and Fairoos Ullal have been deported on 7th May 2016 from Jeddah airport and another accused Nasir Bunder is waiting for his turn at the deportation center.
As per the complaint registered by STC Telecom Company in March 2003, 8 Mangaloreans had been implicated for allegedly passing and routing of illegal telephone calls and were charged with a fine of 6.7 million Saudi Riyals. The family members also disclosed that these unfortunate young men were made scapegoats for someone else’s wrongdoings as they were unable to communicate in Arabic or English.
The India Fraternity Forum had formed an ad-hoc committee in the year 2010 for the follow up of the case. Since then, IFF has been constantly in touch with the Indian Consulate Jeddah and had approached a lot of Indian businessmen and other NRI donors for support to raise the release fund to pay the fine imposed on these prisoners. IFF and Altaf Ullal jointly took the responsibility to raise the required fund from generous donors from the Indian community. They have been successful in approaching and convincing the donors to provide financial support for these 3 young men.
IFF had appointed lawyer Hamid Jameel to represent the accused in court. IFF Regional President Shamsuddin congratulated Jameel for the successful effort in freeing these Indians. He also appreciated the extended support from the Indian consulate, IFF volunteers for their hard work and the generous NRI donors in the community. In the meantime, the lawyer confirmed that last accused namely Mohammed Shareef Kannur is also expecting to be out of jail soon.
The India Fraternity Forum has been actively involved in the area of socio-cultural, sports and welfare activities in KSA for over a decade. IFF’s major area of work is Hajj volunteer service, Sports meets, Health Campaigns in association with the Saudi Ministry, helping fellow Indians to overcome hardships at work, labour issues, jail cases, etc.
History of STC calls routing case
- June 1, 2003: Saudi Police arrested 8 Mangaloreans from their accommodation.
- 2004: Court Judgment to pay penalty amount of 5.6 million Saudi Riyals.
- 2004 to 2010: Family members of the accused continue their effort for release through Indian ministers and diplomats.
- 2010: India Fraternity Forum set up an ad hoc committee and started following up the case with the help of the Indian Consulate in Jeddah. All documents were collected and Hamid Jamil was appointed as the lawyer to follow up at Saudi Court.
- 2011: STC rejected the appeal for pardon to release.
- 2012: Documents submitted to Saudi Telecom Company for fine amount negotiation. Since a huge amount was levied, it took a long time to convince all the Board members to reduce the fine amount.
- 2013: STC agreed to reduce the fine amount and confirmation sent to the Court. Court called accused of the trial after 10 years.
- April 8, 2014: First accused Ayyub Kannur was released and sent home.
- 2015: 3 more accused released and sent home.
- 2016: Order issued for release of 3 more accused. The last accused, Mohammed Shareef Kannur, to be released soon.