Efforts Intensify To Save 8 Bangladeshis Convicted Of Murder

RIYADH: As part of renewed efforts to save the lives of eight Bangladeshi workers who were sentenced to death for a highly publicized homicide in Riyadh, the Bangladeshi Embassy has contacted the family of the victim, an Egyptian, and offered to pay blood money.

“The Bangladeshi Embassy has contacted the family of the victim through the Egyptian Embassy,” said Waheedur Rahman, a spokesman of the Bangladeshi Embassy, yesterday. He said that an appeal made to a higher court was still to be heard.

“The embassy has intensified its efforts to solve the case and save the lives of the accused,” said Waheedur Rahman.

The Egyptian was killed during a clash in April last year between the Bangladeshi workers and a group of men who allegedly were stealing electric cable from a company complex where the Bangladeshis worked.

Waheedur Rahman, however, was not certain whether a compromise could be reached to save the lives of the workers.

He said Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed sent a letter to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah petitioning for a royal pardon. “We see Saudi Arabia as one of our closest friends and I am sure that the problems can be amicably resolved,” he said.

Asked about the response of the victim’s family, he said the negotiations have not been successful so far. “Funds (for the blood money) are not a problem; the money can be raised by our community,” said Waheedur Rahman, adding that the embassy has a welfare fund to help workers in distress.

Eight of the 14 men charged in connection with the killing were sentenced to death. Three were sentenced to 14 years in prison while three others to 12 years.

Dhaka under pressure

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia asked Bangladesh yesterday to act against illegal manpower traders in order to stop the abuse of migrant workers in the Kingdom.

“Some Bangladeshi recruiting agencies are sending laborers to Saudi Arabia without maintaining the proper rules and by violating the guidelines,” Abdullah ibn Naser Al-Busairi, Saudi ambassador in Dhaka, told a news conference.

He said the illegal recruiters also fail to train or brief the workers for work in Saudi Arabia.

“The illegal manpower traders cheat the job seekers in many ways, such as by violating contracts and promising wages higher than what the employer will actually pay,” he said.

Al-Busairi said the illegal agencies were also taking more money than usual from Bangladeshis seeking jobs. The Saudi Embassy issues nearly 1,000 visas daily to Bangladeshi workers, he said.

Bangladeshi workers recently reported facing problems of abuse, including harassment and poor wages, in Saudi Arabia.

— With input from Reuters

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