Date with death. Indonesian maid Image Credit: GN Archive

ABU DHABI A 25-year-old Indian is seeking help to raise Dh200,000 to secure his release from Al Ain Central jail.

Abdul Naushad Kannankuzhiyil from Kerala landed in prison after a freak road accident resulted in the death of his Indonesian girlfriend, Soma, in 2010.

The couple worked for a family in Al Ain where Naushad was employed as a driver and Soma as a maid. Unable to enjoy private moments together, one day the duo sneaked out of their employer’s villa for a romantic outing in a minivan.

But fate ordained otherwise. They had barely gone a few kilometres when Soma’s worst fear came true. Driving alongside was their employer. Panic struck, she opened the car door and jumped out of the moving vehicle. The impact killed her instantly.

Naushad was arrested. Four years on, he is still embroiled in legal tussles to secure a pardon from his girlfriend’s family.

After long-drawn negotiations between Indian and Indonesian embassies, Soma’s family has finally agreed to accept Dh300,000 compensation and pardon Naushad.

They had initially asked for Dh700,000 and then Dh500,000.

“The Red Crescent in Al Ain has agreed to pitch in with Dh100,000 in blood money, but I still need to raise Dh200,000,” Naushad told XPRESS over the phone from Al Ain jail.

XPRESS could not reach the Red Crescent for a comment.

He said he is counting on the generosity of UAE residents to help him start a new life.

“It was sheer bad luck. I am not a criminal and deserve a second chance in life,” he said.

According Indian embassy records, Naushad was sentenced to one year and two months jail in 2010 for having an illicit relationship. But the ruling regarding Soma’s death remained pending in the Appeals Court till 2013, because her family could not be traced to negotiate the pardon.

 

Long search

 

“After being approached by Naushad, we contacted the Indonesian embassy. With their help we mounted a search for Soma’s family. Finally last year, the Indonesian embassy was able to established contacts with them,” said an Indian embassy official.

However, no headway could be made as the family wasn’t willing to settle for anything less than Dh700,000.

According to legal sources, the Soma’s family has now agreed to accept Dh300,000 for an out of court settlement, although they are entitled to only Dh100,000 as blood money according to UAE laws.

A lawyer familiar with the case said things cannot go forward until the Indonesian embassy submits the family’s pardon letter.

“The Red Crescent authorities will pay Dh100,000 only if it is decreed by the court after the submission of the pardon letter. I am a poor man and I cannot afford an out of court settlement,” said Naushad.

An Indonesian embassy official handling the case said they are still verifying the identity of the victim’s family.

“We are in touch with various legal entities in Indonesia. We need to clarify through legal means whether the relatives we are in touch with are the immediate family members of the victim, especially when there are many claimants for the compensation amount,” said the official. He did not confirm whether the victim’s family has issued a pardon or not.

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