Indian in Saudi jail faces blinding

An Indian wife has appealed to a Saudi national to pardon her husband whose eye will be gouged out as punishment passed by a court in Saudi Arabia.

    The accused Indian worked at a petrol pump in Dammam

    The court has ordered the removal of Indian worker Puthen Veetil Abdul Latheef Noushad's eye as punishment for blinding a Saudi national in 2003.

    "I am ready to offer anything to save my husband's eye," Suhaila Noushad said on Tuesday.

    Though the sentence was handed out in 2003, Suhaila only discovered the news on Monday when her husband called from a jail in Dammam in Saudi Arabia to tell the family that "everything will be all right".

    Noushad, 32, had been working at a petrol pump in Dammam on the Saudi east coast since 1995. He had a fight with a Saudi customer over payment in April 2003 that put him in jail.

    The Saudi man later lost his eyesight, but Noushad says it was not because of the injuries he inflicted, and he only ever acted in self-defence during the altercation.

    No compensation

    Noushad filed a review petition in the Saudi Court of Appeals in 2004, which can ask a victim for a pardon, but the victim has refused to settle for monetary compensation.

    Noushad said on Monday that his sponsor had offered to pay 1.2 million Indian rupees ($25,960) as compensation to the victim, which the Saudi refused. "I'm praying for the best to happen to me," he said.

    "My daughter has never seen her father. (The) Children always ask about him"

    Suhaila Noushad,
    wife of jailed Indian worker

    The only option for the Noushad family now is to appeal to the Saudi king for royal clemency, which is granted during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

    His wife last saw him more than three years ago. "My daughter has never seen her father. [The] children always ask about him," Suhaila, who has two children aged five and two, said weeping.

    "Whenever he telephones, he says everything is going to be all right. His friends, colleagues, everyone said he would be released soon. We waited for all these years for him and prayed. Please give us our son back. He is our only solace," Noushad's mother Nabeesa Beevi said.


    The Keralites Association, a government agency looking after the welfare of people from the southern Indian state of Kerala working in the Gulf, has asked the Indian Foreign Ministry to intervene.

    "We will check (about the case) when we are in Delhi," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna, who is accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Russia.

    More than one million people from Kerala work in the Gulf countries.



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