Manama: A Saudi court has sentenced an expatriate driver to pay 1.2 million Saudi riyals (Dh1.17 million) in blood money to the families of four people who died in an accident.
According to the case, the driver, an Asian national, was driving a long lorry on the Riyadh highway when he crashed into the car transporting the four Saudis.
The driver who was not identified said that he had a sudden problem with the brakes and that he tried to swerve to avoid the car, but did not succeed in manoeuvring out of the way.
Four Saudis died under the impact of the crash that carried their car around 100 metres from the scene of the accident, local news site Sabq reported on Tuesday.
Paramedics who rushed to the accident scene confirmed the death of the Saudis on the spot.
In his ruling the Riyadh Court judge said that the driver had to pay 300,000 riyals in blood money for each of the deceased. Failure to pay the full amount would keep the Asian behind bars. Under blood money rules, the families of the accident victims could forgive the driver who reportedly was not insured and allow him to go home.
Online comments ranged between outright condemnation of the driver for causing the death of four people and pleading with the families to help set him free.
“He has to pay the money because he deprived the families of their loved sons,” a blogger under the name of Par posted. “It is his fault and he should not have accepted to drive the car if there is no insurance.”
For Saudia, another blogger, the driver should have been sentenced to death. “He killed four people and he deserves to face the capital punishment,” she wrote.
However, messages of sympathy dominated the online debate.
“How will he ever be able to raise enough funds to pay the compensation money, especially that he will be in prison,” a blogger under the name of Doon posted. “He almost certainly has nothing and deserves full compassion.”
Abu Nader, another blogger, criticised those who supported harsh action against foreigners for flouting rules.
“People have to think about life values and we have to be extremely careful because we never know what fate has for us,” he remarked. “Those who make disparaging remarks should remember that anything could happen to them or to their loved ones,” he said.
Another blogger said that he was ready to contribute to a fund-raising drive to help the driver.
“Please inform me where I should go and I will do it,” he wrote.