Indians awaiting execution freed after blood money payment

Indians awaiting execution freed after blood money payment

Three Indians in Saudi Arabia convicted for a compatriot's murder have been saved from execution after an Indian businessman paid nearly half a million Saudi riyals (nearly $133,200) in blood money on their behalf, media reported Saturday.

Fasal Iritti, 35, Mustafa Kunnath, 33, and M. Shakeer, 36, from the south Indian state of Kerala were released from Al-Hair prison in Riyadh where they had been awaiting execution for the murder of Ashraf, a native of Mangalore in Karnataka, the Arab News reported. They were convicted in the case in May 2008.

Shihab Kottukad, Riyadh coordinator of the Non-Resident Keralites' Affairs Department, told Arab News: "All three men were released Wednesday and left for home where they reached today."

The three had attacked Ashraf following a scuffle. They subsequently tried to hide the body in a nearby dumpster when they were caught red-handed by police.

After their murder conviction and sentencing, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was approached by their families to save their lives. They also sought the assistance of the Indian embassy in the Gulf nation to contact the victim's family in Riyadh. The victim's family agreed to pardon them in lieu of blood money.

Kottukad said the victim's father, Abdul Qadeer, initially asked for two million Saudi riyals in blood money but eventually agreed to settle for 490,000 Saudi riyals. The report, however, did not mention when the murder took place.

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