Karnataka HC directs Centre to obtain conviction copy of Mangaluru from state from Saudi Arabian court
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the Union government to obtain the order copy of the judgment from a Saudi Arabian court and related certified documents in connection with the conviction of a man from the state.
Shailesh Kumar, a resident of Barnakatte near Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district, has been awarded 15 years of imprisonment in Saudi Arabia for blasphemy.
The bench, headed by Justice Krishna S. Dixit, gave directions to help in filing a petition before the Saudi king to review the punishment. It also directed the Central government to enlighten it about the procedure to file the mercy petition in connection with the cases of blasphemy, sedition and breach of trust cases.
Meanwhile, Mohin Khan, an officer at the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia appeared in the court online and said that officials in Saudi Arabia have already been contacted in connection with obtaining a copy of the conviction. He submitted that the copy of judgment was not available yet and the efforts are on to obtain it.
As the bench asked him how many days are required to obtain the copy, he told it that the courts in Saudi Arabia provide a copy of conviction to only those convicted and there is no provision to provide it to others. In spite of this, the efforts are on to get it and it can’t be told exactly how many more days are required for obtaining a copy of the conviction, he added.
The bench then adjourned the matter to August 17.
The petition in this regard was filed by Kavitha, wife of Shailesh Kumar, who had been working in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. She had earlier pleaded with the Centre to get back her husband who has become a victim of hacking and got arrested by the Saudi Arabian government. She has also stated that he had been targeted for putting up a patriotic message on social media.
Kavitha, a resident of Bikkarnakatte near Mangaluru, had claimed that miscreants had created a fake social media account of her husband and posted derogatory messages against the king of Saudi Arabia and Islam.
“During last February, my husband put up a patriotic message on his social media account. He had received a threatening call from a stranger. The stranger had warned Shailesh to withdraw the social media account and if he didn’t, they wouldn’t allow him to be in Saudi Arabia. Shailesh, taking no chances, had taken off his account,” she said.
After a few days, unknown people created a fake social media account in the name of Shailesh Kumar and uploaded derogatory messages against Islam and the King of Saudi Arabia and hatched a conspiracy to get him arrested, she alleged.
BJP leader Jitendra Kottari had said that Shailesh Kumar is kept in prison in Saudi Arabia for one and a half years and police have arrested him without any investigation. No advocate is coming forward to argue in favor of Shailesh and Indian organisations in Saudi Arabia are also silent on the issue, he claimed.
The matter was brought to the notice of BJP state President Nalin Kumar Kateel, who is also a local MP. Though, Kateel has written a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs, there is no progress.
There is an opportunity for his release if the MEA intervenes in the matter and the government should take necessary steps for the release of an innocent Indian landed in jail for no fault of his, Kottari demanded.
The court also pulled up the callous attitude of the police department and officers in connection with the case. It had warned of action against the police for non-compliance with court directions with regard to the case.