King grants Royal pardon; migrant group urges PH embassy to assists jailed OFWs in Saudi

ON Thursday, Saudi’s King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, granted pardon to all Saudi’s and expatriates who are in various prisons all over Saudi Arabia on the occasion of his return to the oil-rich Kingdom after treatment abroad.

The reports cited Director General of Prisons Maj. Gen. Dir. Ali Bin Hussien Al-Harthi saying the Royal pardon order will include Saudi and non-Saudi, but would only cover the public rights of the offense committed, but those whose crime committed has a private right aspect is not included such as the debt aspect of the crime.

Saudi’s General of Prisons estimated there are 49,000 inmates in Saudi’s jails, but only 10,000 maybe qualified for the pardon as their offense only include public rights liability.

Upon knowing the report of the royal pardon, Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), an alliance of OFWs groups in the Middle East, and its chapter in Saudi Arabia, hails the issuance of the royal pardon by his Highness King Abdullah.

“Our fellow OFWs who are in jail will be happy to hear this ‘good news’ of royal pardon just issued through a decree by the Saudi King,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said jailed OFW Farouq Hadji Malik Bayabao called him discretely direct from his prison cell in Malaz central jail who inquired if the news about royal pardon is indeed true. “He and his fellow inmates were delighted upon confirming to them that indeed the news is true -then all shouted ‘Yehey’,” Monterona added.

Monterona said Farouq is one of the 48 jailed OFWs in Malaz who sought assistance to Migrante-Middle East claiming that they have already completed their respective jail terms.

Monterona said there are about 200 jailed OFWs in Malaz central jail. Many of them committed petty crimes such as liquor, gambling, ‘mixed’ crowd, caught with women, illegal drugs possession, among others.

On Migrante-ME conservative estimate that there are about 1,200 OFWs in various jails in Saudi Arabia.

“We are hoping that most of the jailed OFWs in Saudi could avail the royal pardon, since more than half of the estimated 1,200 jailed OFWs have been alleged to have committed petty crimes, with no private rights liabilities,” Monterona added.

Monterona calls on the PH embassy in Riyadh and the PH consulate in Jeddah to immediately seek the details of the Royal pardon decree and implementing rules and to properly represent the jailed OFWs in availing the said royal pardon grant by his Highness King Abdullah.

“We are hoping too that this time, our embassy and consular officials will act promptly and will assist our jailed OFWs to avail the royal pardon grant, then go home and start a new life with their respective families in the Philippines,” Monterona said.

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