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 Home » News » India - Monday 26 Jun 2006

King pays blood money, Indian expat driver released

RIYADH—In a royal gesture, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah paid out SR 185,701 to the members of a Saudi family to secure the release of an Indian driver involved in a car accident nearly two years ago.

Shaukat Abdul Samad, an Indian national from the south Indian state of Kerala, was released from Al-Uyoon prison in Hofof on Friday night. He was one of the beneficiaries of the royal amnesty declared recently by King Abdullah for those imprisoned in connection with petty crimes .

Speaking to Arab News and Malayalam News, a sister publication, from Hofuf after his release from detention, Abdul Samad said it all happened on a fateful day in October 2004 when the car he was driving was rammed by an incoming SAPTCO (Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company) bus while he was making a u-turn. Three persons, including the head of the Saudi family, his wife and daughter died on the spot, while Samad escaped.

The police arrested Samad and put him in prison for causing the accident. He was also held liable for the payment of blood money to the next of kin of the deceased. “This was a tragic end of my dream as I had left my family behind in my home town of Quillon in Kerala only eight months after my marriage in hopes of sending money to my poor family back home. This accident brutally shattered my dream and left me to ponder over my future behind bars.”

Samad said that in the meantime his Saudi sponsor tried to help him by negotiating with the members of the accident victim’s family so that the case could be settled out of court. “At that time, the sponsor was told that the family would not insist on full payment of the blood money but would try to be reasonable considering the circumstances of the Indian driver.”

However, after the announcement of amnesty, they changed their stand and wanted full payment of the blood money amounting to SR 185,701. The son said his late father had heavy financial commitments and therefore urgently needed the entire amount to meet those obligations.

Samad said the turning point in his life came when the King visited New Delhi on January 26 this year as the chief guest on India’s Republic Day. His family submitted a mercy petition to the king through India’s Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed for the grant of amnesty.In the petition Abdul Samad’s wife explained the situation at home, pointing out in particular their acute state of financial and mental distress. It was then that the move to secure his release gathered momentum.

Following the petition, King Abdullah paid out the blood money to the relatives of the deceased and ordered the release of Abdul Samad. From the embassy side, those involved in the release efforts included Ambassador M.O.H. Farook, K. Murlidharan and P. Balachandran, both second secretaries (welfare) at the Indian Embassy.

Samad expressed his gratitude to the king and said he and his family would never forget the royal gesture, which gave them a new lease of life.

- YaHind News
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