Abu Dhabi: An Emirati who saved an Indian and Sri Lankan from death row said he was just responding to the friendship he shared with the two men during his short time in Al Ain jail.

"They taught me the Quran and religious matters in which I was very weak," said Khadim M. Al Daheri, 42, who coordinated efforts to secure a pardon from the family of the victim who was murdered. Court sentenced the two men to death in 1998 for the victim's murder.

Al Daheri also asked another Emirati to contribute to the blood money [diya], in order to secure the pardon from relatives of the victim, who are from Kerala in South India. Saeed Mohammad Al Ameri, a prominent Emirati in Al Ain donated Dh300,000, said Al Daheri.

"I am planning to take the two men for Umrah next month. I have never met such good people," he said, speaking about Abdul Rahim Mohammad Farouq, 43, a Sri Lankan and Radwad Naeem Al Deen, 37, an Indian, who spent about 10 years in jail.

"Man becomes an animal when he is angry and things happen," he said. The two men have been convicted of stabbing their roommate to death over a fight about which movie to watch.

Al Daheri said he went to jail in 2001 on an economic offence. "I was held accountable for certain financial irregularities committed by a group of Arab nationals who ran an agricultural company under my sponsorship and fled the country," he claimed.

He said they became good friends and when he was released in 2005, he assured them he would do whatever he could to save them from the death sentence.

"I knew it was not easy as their families had already travelled to Kerala several times to secure the pardon from the victim's family but with little success," he said.

His efforts gained momentum when a businessman from Kerala who frequently travelled to the UAE came forward to offer his help.


"He played a crucial role in convincing the family of the victim to grant the pardon," said Al Daheri.

Al Daheri also received help from a number of senior UAE officials including Abdullah Al Shehi, Ex-Manager of Al Ain prison and the Sri Lankan and Indian embassies.

The Keralite who played the crucial role told Gulf News that he did nothing special. "I don't want any credit because it was not only myself, but a lot of good people that made it possible."

Norjahan, mother of Radwad Naeem Al Deen who reached his home in Maharashtra in India said over the phone that she had almost lost hope as their visits to Kerala did not reap any results. "My family and I tried to speak to the victim's family but with little success. My brothers also visited them several times," said Noorjahan. Al Deen said he has no words to express his happiness in meeting his parents, wife and three children again. "I did not have any money but Khadim Al Daheri gave me flight tickets and some money. He regularly calls me," said Al Deen.


Abdul Rahim Mohammad Farouq who reached his home in Sri Lanka told Gulf News over the phone that his learning of the Quran in jail paved the way for his release. "I learned the whole Quran in my first four years in jail and tried to share it with Khadim Al Daheri. Finally Khadim came into our life like an angel who helped us through what we thought was impossible," said Farouq.

Al Daheri's commitment to his friends in jail does not end there. "I am trying to arrange a job for both of them in any Gulf country since they cannot come back to the UAE," said Al Daheri.

Friends reunite

The reunion of two old friends, who are from two separate Asian countries but studied together at a young age, also became instrumental in saving the lives of the two men from the death row. Y.M. the Keralite businessman [who did not want to be named saying he does not want any credit as it was God's will] that helped convince the victim's family to grant the pardon, took the initiative at the request of a Sri Lankan friend with whom he had studied in the 1970's.

Abdul Rahim from Sri Lanka got in touch with me after two decades when our sons met together at an Indian educational institution in 2000, he said. We rekindled our old friendship and met in Makkah in 2005 when I went for Haj with my parents.

Abdul Rahim introduced a compatriot to me saying "his brother is in jail, waiting for the death sentence; can you do something to secure a pardon from his family?" said Y.M. Later Abdul Rahim gave me Khadim Al Daheri's number.

I got in touch with three friends who are well reputed in Kozhicode District in Kerala, where the family of the victim lives. The family could not think of granting the pardon but when my friends quoted Quran and Islamic teachings highlighting the 'goodness of forgiving', at least they were ready to speak. They convinced the family to accept blood money saying 'it is halal' for the orphans [the children of the deceased] according to Sharia law.

When Khadim arranged blood money, the mission was almost successful. That night Abdul Rahim was very happy when he called me from Sri Lanka. But the next day, I found out that he passed away due to a sudden heart attack. "He went away with the good deed of saving two lives," said Y.M.