Kerala youth faces death in Kuwaiti jail

By Sanu George, IANS

Alappuzha : Time is running out for 26-year-old Simil, who left Kerala for Kuwait two years ago, for a better life. If his family is unable to raise Rs. 600,000, Simil could either be hanged or shot to death in a Kuwaiti jail.

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The youth has been charged with murder. Simil accidentally stabbed his friend Nov 21, 2007 in a scuffle that broke out after a cricket match between the winners and losers.

The sharp Kuwaiti knife with which Simil was defending himself accidentally sliced through the neck of his colleague, 31-year-old Suresh, a native of Cuddapah district in Andhra Pradesh. Suresh died in a few minutes.

Simil went to the nearest police station and owned up to his crime. The police sent him to jail.

The youth, who belongs to a poor fisherman’s family near Thottapaly, went to Kuwait after mortgaging his home in Kerala for the passage money.

He worked as an electrician for eight months, but fell ill thereafter. And was out of work for several months. However, he managed a job as a cleaner in a Kuwaiti resort at Chairan.

Simil’s parents, both chronic heart patients, are praying to god for mercy. According to the Shariat laws in Kuwait, only the wife of the victim can pardon Simil, and if that does not happen in another two to three weeks, the youth will either be shot dead or hanged.

P.Sabu, a village council member from Simil’s hometown in Kerala, reached Cuddapah Feb 10, along with a few people, to meet the Suresh’s wife to seek pardon.

“It was through a few people in Kuwait and a few residents of Kerala in Cuddapah that we reached the town. But the situation was not conducive for us to meet Suresh’s wife. We stayed near Chinnapaly village there, while a local doctor mediated with Suresh’s wife. Initially, she was unwilling to pardon her husband’s killer. But pleading and perseverance paid off,” Sabu told IANS.

Two children and wife survive Suresh, who was equally poor.

“It was agreed that a sum of Rs. 600,000 would be paid as compensation to Suresh’s wife following which she would sign the papers for his pardon,” Sabu said. But the problem is Simil mortgaged his home for a loan to go to Kuwait and the bank has started procedures to recover the money after coming to know about Simil’s jail sentence.

The villagers have written to Chief Minister V.S.Achuthanandan, local legislator and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran and to the Centre several times, but the pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Speaking to IANS, leader of opposition Oommen Chandy said he has initiated steps to raise the money. “I will ask my friends in Kuwait to chip in. My friends abroad recently helped me raise money for a very poor family and tomorrow I am going to donate the money,” Chandy said.