Wednesday, May 22, 2024

34 crore blood money: Thousands join fundraiser to save Kerala man from death row in Saudi

Thousands have joined a Mother in Kerala’s Kozhikode in a last bid to save her son from being executed in Saudi Arabia. Sentenced to death for the death of a Saudi boy, Machilakath Peediyekkal Abdul Rahim’s only chance to live is to pay blood money of 15 million Saudi Riyals — approximately 34 crores in Indian rupees — before 18 April 2024.

Since 2006, the house driver has been languishing in jail after he was held responsible for the death of an unwell boy. Rahim’s family claims that the child misbehaved with Rahim while driving and as he tried to control the boy, the medical device came off, which led to the tragic death.

The Abdul Rahim Legal Action Committee launched a dedicated mobile application for the fundraising campaign. Save Abdul Rahim app on Friday states that over 34,45,47,519 rupees have been collected so far. The app is not receiving payments now as it closed the campaign.

Dozens of social media influencers and celebrities joined the crowdfunding campaign endorsed by political figures and community leaders.

Majeed, Rahim’s neighbour and coordinator of the Legal Action Committee, told Maktoob that they are seeking an extension of time.

“There was a lapse of two months for the family to learn about the six-month ultimatum to pay the money. We have requested through the embassy to give more time. While we hope to get more time, we believe we can complete the fundraiser by the set date,” Majeed said.

“We saw over 7 lakh downloads of the application across both platforms (IOS and Android),” Ashhar, the founder of Spine Codes, the company that developed the mobile application said.

The committee have urged people to contribute only through the application to evade fraudulent practices.

18 years in jail awaiting death

Raheem, an auto driver from Feroke in Kozhikode, flew to Saudi Arabia in 2006 seeking better prospects. There, he was employed as a house-driver in Riyadh to a Saudi family. He was also the caretaker of a disabled 15-year-old boy.

According to Rahim’s version, one day, at a traffic signal, the boy urged Rahim to move the car forward ignoring the red light. When he refused, the boy began spitting and beating him from the rear seat. 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.

Maktoob has not seen the court documents.

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 which must be paid within six months from the deal’s signing on October 16, 2023.

“We hope to pay the amount seeing this momentum of the fundraiser. We hope to bring him back,” Majeed added.

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