Indian Detainee Dies At Deportation Center

RIYADH: Family members and detainees of the Somaishi Deportation Center here confirmed to Arab News on Monday that Mohammed Saquib, 45, passed away in the center’s clinic.

Saquib, described by his inmates as mentally challenged and suffering from tuberculosis, was rushed to the deportation center’s clinic on Sunday night where he passed away. Arab News reported on Friday that Saquib and another inmate identified only as Siyaram, 60, were in an alarming state of physical and mental deterioration.

The Indian Embassy declined to comment on Saquib’s death except to say it is doing its best to help those being held in deportation centers.

Meanwhile, about 500 detainees at the center have initiated a hunger strike on Monday to persuade Indian officials to help speed up the deportation process.

Inmates claim crowded conditions in the holding cells with people sleeping in the filthy bathrooms because the main areas are packed with people.

Speaking from Kuwait, Saquib’s brother Mohammed Sajid, who works as a driver, said the death “jolted the whole family back home in India.”

Saquib, who ran away from his sponsor, was the only earning hand in his family. A poor man from Hajipur Ghodana village (in Azamgargh district) of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saquib is survived by five children. The body has been shifted to the mortuary of Somaishi Central Hospital.

R. Muraleedharan, chief of the Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA), said Saquib had been in the center for “the last few months” and had been denied medical treatment even as his physical condition went from bad to worse.

Muraleedharan said Siyaram still needs medical attention. Siyaram, from Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, reportedly suffers from acute anemia and mental problems and has yet to be issued a clearance certificate.

“If Siyaram dies now after the sad demise of Saquib, then who should be held accountable?” said Shiju, one of the inmates in the center, in an interview with Arab News over the phone. “It will be an example of the lack of mercy toward prisoners with serious health problems who have the legal right to be released from jail.”

Saquib’s death inside the deportation center is not unique. In another recent incident at the center, a worker identified as “Asian” died in the center a few months back allegedly due of lack of medical treatment. A Filipino worker died inside a crowded deportation center in Jeddah on April 6; the cause of death was not reported.

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