Stranded in Saudi Arabia
Nibin's Saudi Experience
Nibin Stranded in Saudi Arabia
Nibin, a native of Wayanad, went to Saudi Arabia to work as a driver. He paid agency fees, ticket fee and visa fee for getting this visa and worked as a truck driver for the sponsor for a period of 6 months during which no salary was paid to him by the sponsor. He decided to seek legal action after seeing that the sponsor continuously refused to pay his salary and wanted him to work as a bonded labour. At the start of the legal battle he was out of work with no place to stay, no food to eat.
His inability to speak in Arabic put him in a difficult situation, even at the court where his sponsor’s version of the story was heard first, in spite of the fact that the complaint was first made by Nibin.
We received the grievance at this point of time and we immediately reported the matter to the MEA office through MADAD. There were a few updates which are given along but overall the system was not effective in providing justice to Nibin. Click here to read MADAD Status
Some of the senior officials of the embassy have been really helpful however they had very little say on the matters that are legal. They engaged a person who could speak Arabic to go with Nibin to talk to the person concerned at the court, which was again commendable.
We then refereed the file to our legal team to take up the matter with the agent who had an office in Riyadh as well. He supported Nibin with some money so that he could go to the embassy and meet the officials and could also manage some of his daily expenses.
We were also in touch with the embassy constantly to see if Amnesty can be availed in his case.
Our international counterparts contacted Amnesty International and the matter was referred to one of their contacts in Saudi, however they were all of the same opinion that there is no room for human rights in Saudi Arabia. More over, since the matter was at the labour court no body knew what to do next.
One of our counterpart based in UAE contacted his representative in Riyadh, they too felt sorry for Nibin’s situation but had no thoughts on how to resolve this matter.
Another well wisher of TGG Family based in Delhi used most of his contacts to find a way out to see how we can get Nibin back.
After making repeated visits to the embassy and spending whatever money that was given by the agent, Nibin finally decided to surrender to the police. He knew that was the only way out since the police often take bribes and provide free ticket to travel back after putting a foreign national in jail for few weeks. He felt that to be a better option than being nowhere without food and accommodation.
Nibin returned home safely but he has lost 2 years of his precious life in a country under great distress in addition to the monitory loss . The case file of Nibin is still open at the labour court in Riyadh, and if any of the Saudi Arabian officials wish to undo the damage then they can get in touch with Nibin in India and offer him justice.
This case involved a collaborative effort from a number of different people. With that in mind we would like to offer a special thanks to:
Mr. Narayanan – Indian Embessy In Saudi Arabia
Mr. Ramakrishnan – Law firm, Delhi
Mr. Anub – Lawyer, Kerala
Mr. Easwar – Airline Professional, UAE
Ms. Hannah Vincent – Wynad Clothing, UK
Ms. Ella Knight – Amnesty International, UK