PM assures help for Nepali workers wrongly jailed in Saudi Arabia

Published On: February 1, 2017 08:28 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 1: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday promised to provide relief to 11 Nepali migrant workers who were mistakenly jailed for seven years in Saudi Arabia on charge of murdering an Indian national. He also pledged to investigate into the alleged 'non-cooperation' of the officials of the Nepali embassy. 

Ten of the falsely accused Nepali migrant workers returned home about six weeks ago after a Saudi court ordered their release upon finding that they were detained mistakenly. Unfortunately, one of the 11 victims did not survive to breathe fresh air away from the prison. 

After hearing the grievances of the migrant workers at his residence on Tuesday evening, PM Dahal assured them of help. 

“Since you are innocent, I will raise this issue even with the Saudi government for compensation. We will also review the works of our officials at the embassy if their negligence caused problems for you,” said Dahal in a video posted on the official website of the prime minister. 

PM Dahal said that he was saddened upon hearing about the plights of the migrant workers. “My government is working hard to support migrant workers. I will work to bring back the dead body of the deceased migrant worker and help his family,” Dahal told the migrant workers. 

In February 2010, Krishna Damai (Nawalparasi), Bhakta Bahadur Darjee (Rupandehi), Som Tamang (Rasuwa), Ram Bahadur Tamang (Dhading), Keshar Bahadur Nepali (Tanahun), Shree Kumar Rai (Bhojpur), Bir Bahadur Budhathoki (Okhaldhunga), Dipen Sharma (Jhapa), Chandra Bahadur Gurung (Morang) and Bhim Prasad Chimariya (Morang) were mistakenly jailed in Saudi Arabia on charge of murdering the Indian national. They accused the Saudi government of torturing them physically and mentally without explaining the reason for their detention. 

Another migrant worker Umesh Shrestha, a local from Madhuban, Jhapa, who was also jailed in the case, died in the prison. His body, according to migrant returnees, has not yet been brought to Nepal. 

After spending five years in jail, the court had ordered their release but they had to wait for two more years in prison for the order to be implemented. They were released with the initiative of the Prime Ministers' Office and the Nepali embassy in Saudi Arabia. 

According to Chimariya, they were accused of killing the Indian national but were released after the court found them innocent. 

“The Saudi police jailed us on charge of killing an Indian. We could have been released within one or two months if the Embassy officials had initiated our release,” said Chimariya, adding, “But we were forced to stay in jail for seven years due to negligence of the Embassy officials. Finally, we have been released and we are thankful to the PMO.” 

Chimariya asked the government to provide them relief for their survival. When asked for help, Dahal said that the government has been supporting migrant workers by arranging seed money, rescuing migrant workers from bankrupt companies and arranging insurance for them.

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