Three Pakistani citizens, imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for the past 13 years on murder and adultery charges, have been sentenced to death by a Sharia court, according to their family members.
Relatives of one of the accused have asked the Government of Pakistan to take up the issue with the Saudi government, saying they have been wrongly implicated in the cases and have spent 13 years behind bars, besides paying blood money (diyat) worth Rs4 million in one case in 2004.
The three Pakistanis were identified as Rahmul Wahab, a resident of Charsadda, Bashir Hassan Afridi of Kohat and Mohammad Abdur Rehman, a resident of Karachi.
Fazl Karim, a cousin of Wahab, told The Express Tribune that the three men were arrested on suspicion of murdering another Pakistani, identified as Mohammad Yaqoob and a resident of Dera Ghazi Khan, in 1999 in Makkah.
While they were in prison, the bodies of two babies were recovered from the same area where Yaqoob’s body was found and so the authorities charged them for impregnating two Indonesian girls and later for forceful abortions that killed the two babies, he said.
His nephew Mansoor Wahab said that on July 17, 2004, a nine-member jirga agreed that the families of the accused would jointly pay the blood money (diyat) of Rs4 million to Yaqoob’s family The money was accordingly paid and a court sentenced the three men to 15, 12 and 10 years imprisonment, respectively.
Another court later revised the sentence and the imprisonment term was increased to 18, 13 and 12 years, while a third court further increased these counts to 20, 14 and 11 years.
However, on March 29, another court awarded death sentence to the Pakistanis. According to the family members, it takes at least three months between the death sentence and the execution and at present, they have been asked to appeal against the verdict.
Wahab’s wife, Shaheen, urged the Saudi king and the Pakistani authorities to release her husband. “My daughters need their father, and my husband has already spent 13 years in prison,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2011.