Saudi Arabia: Indian expat saved from death row after crowd raises Dh14.9 million ‘blood money’

Estimated read time 2 min read

Abdul Rahim served 18 years in a Saudi jail for murder.

An Indian man has been saved from death row in Saudi Arabia after people from India’s state of Kerala raised Rs340 million (Dh14.9 million) for his release, representatives of the crowdfunding committee announced in a press conference on Friday (April 12).

Abdul Rahim, who is from Kozhikode, had been serving time in jail for the past 18 years for the murder of a 15-year-old boy with special needs in 2006. He had worked as a driver for the boy’s family, who decided to accept blood money of 15 million Saudi riyals in exchange for pardon.

The committee raised the amount for Rahim’s release three days ahead of his scheduled execution in Saudi Arabia.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched on social media, which drew the support of his countrymen, including Non-Resident Indians and business people. According to the action committee, the fund was raised within four days.

“This is Kerala’s real story,” said a member of the committee, expressing gratitude to everyone who donated money to free Rahim. The committee launched the app SAVEABDULRAHIM to collect funds. Indians in Riyadh also organized a Biriyani challenge to help raise funds.

The total crowdfunding money raised is thought to be the biggest of its kind in Kerala.

What happened in Saudi Arabia?

According to reports, Rahim was driving with the boy when the latter started to assault him for refusing to drive while the red light was still on. During the altercation, Rahim did not notice that a medical device that helped the boy breathe has been dislodged from his shoulder. This caused the boy to eventually fall unconscious and die.

Rahim was found guilty of murder and a court in Saudi Arabia gave him the death sentence in 2018. The family refused to grant him pardon, and the verdict was upheld by an appeals court in 2022. In 2023, the boy’s family agreed to accept blood money to grant him amnesty. ICA/Expat Media

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