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Crowdfunding collects Rs 34 crore “blood money” in 4 days to save Kerala native Abdul Rahim, convicted of killing a 15 years old, from death penalty in Saudi Arabia

Kozhikode native Abdul Rahim has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for 18 years, after he was accused of killing a 15-year-old youngster in Riyadh in 2006

People from Kerala came together to raise a staggering 34 crore in solidarity to save Abdul Rahim who was given a death sentence in Saudi Arabia. Kozhikode native Abdul Rahim has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for 18 years, after he was accused of killing a 15-year-old youngster in Riyadh in 2006. The young boy, who was under the man’s care and on a life support system, passed away while he was being driven by Rahim.

The minor ate and breathed through a special device that was fastened to his neck. Abdul Rahim claimed that he inadvertently dislocated the instrument while trying to calm down the adolescent who sat in the back seat. The teenager was apparently creating a fuss and demanding that the former run a red light on the street. The teenager fainted due to lack of oxygen and by the time the driver rushed him to the hospital, he had already died.

A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Abdul Rahim to death and the nation’s highest court maintained the ruling. He was sentenced in 2012 and although there were appeals against the decision, the death penalty was upheld twice, in 2017, and also in 2022. Later, the deceased’s family stated that they would be willing to forgive Rahim in exchange for blood money worth 15 million Saudi riyals (around INR 34 crore). The deadline set by the mediators to pay the compensation and spare Abdul Rahim from the death penalty was 16th April.

The action group that was established to work toward Rahim’s release was only able to raise Rs 5 crores until five days ago, but as the campaign gained traction, support from Keralites all over the world began to flood in. The members of the action committee informed the media that although the highest courts had dismissed the appeals, the teenager’s family had subsequently agreed to pardon Rahim provided he paid the “blood money.” A member of the action group mentioned, “More than 75 organisations in Riyadh, Kerala-based businessman Bobby Chemmannur, various political organisations in the state and the common people all helped us to raise the money.”

“We have reached the goal of ₹34 crore needed to secure his release. Please do not send us any more money. We have raised Rs 34.45 crore, and the excess funds will be audited and used for a good cause. The global Malayali community has once again done its magic and joined hands irrespective of our political, caste and religious differences. This is the real story of Kerala,” noted trust member Ashraf Vengat.

Abdul Rahim’s mother Pathu claimed she never imagined that amount could be raised. “I had no hope as we have no means to raise Rs 34 crore. But somehow it was all made possible.”

Residents of his neighbourhood in Kozhikode established an action group during the last week of March with the goal of gathering the sum. They also released an app called ‘Save Abdul Rahim’ to facilitate crowdfunding.

The crowdfunding campaign garnered Rs 5 crore till last week. Then, when the call to rescue Abdul Rahim gained momentum on social media, many well-known people, prominent lawmakers and NRI organisations joined the cause. A yatra from Thiruvananthapuram in south Kerala to Kasaragod in the north was initiated by businessman Boby Chemmanur, chairman of the Boby Group of Companies, to generate one crore rupees. The action committee managed to raise the necessary Rs 34 crore by combining this donation with all other global contributions. Bobby Chemmanur also arranged several fund-raising events in the last several days. Furthermore, he planned the sale of one of his products and gave the full proceeds to the charity.

“Blood money” or “diya” in Arabic, is if someone makes a payment to the family of someone who has been killed, they pay that person’s family a sum of money as compensation, it is highly prevalent in Arabic countries. It is a monetary settlement decided upon by the court using Sharia law or negotiated by the parties involved. The Abdul Rahim Legal Assistance Committee is going to deposit the funds in a Saudi court by 15th April and anticipate Abdul Rahim’s release shortly after.

Abdul Rahim was 26-year-old at the time when he went to Saudi Arabia in 2006 to work as a driver for a family. Afterwards, the family gave him the responsibility of care-giving for their 15-year-old paraplegic son who required artificial breathing assistance. The boy died on 24th December of the same year. The incident occurred merely 28 days following Abdul Rahim’s arrival in the country and he has been incarcerated since then.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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