Women peg hope on MEA for husbands jailed in UAE for ‘spying’

The women have knocked on almost all the doors; traveled to Delhi and met Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh twice this year already.

Published: 22nd June 2018 02:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2018 02:40 AM   |  A+A-

Amit Bandre

Express News Service

KOCHI: The women have knocked on almost all the doors; travelled to Delhi and met Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh twice this year already. Despite promises from Indian authorities, nothing seems to be moving even as they continue their efforts to save their husbands languishing in an Abu Dhabi jail.

“We have pleaded our case with Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials several times. They promise they will take up the issue with the UAE government,” said Sunithal Basheer, wife of Muhammed Ibrahim, who has already served three years of a 10-year sentence. Muhammed, 37, hailing from Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district, was picked up by the Abu Dhabi police in March 2014 after he texted the name of a ship arriving at Mina Port, where he worked as a port coordinator, to an Indian embassy officer.

“The embassy official had repeatedly asked him to do so, assuring him it was for the security of both countries. We are paying the price for that,” she said, pointing out she is struggling to make ends meet, especially to educate their three daughters and a son. They moved to Kerala following the detention of her husband.

The other two Malayalees, also incarcerated for ‘spying’, are Shihani Jamal Mohammad from Thiruvananthapuram and Manarthadi Abbas from Malappuram, the former for 10 years and the latter for five years.“We met Singh in Delhi on March 29,” said Sunithal, adding that in February they had met Prahlad Patel, MP, Delhi; Aravind Menon, BJP organisation secretary, and Sushma Swaraj’s secretary Satheesh Gupta.Shihani’s wife Sharmina K V said she still has faith in the Indian government, whose intervention can secure the release of her husband. Shihani was arrested after he contacted Indian embassy officers as part of his job at British shipping firm Inchcape Shipping Services. 

“When my husband was arrested, our two boys were very young. They ask me why their father is in jail. I don’t know what to tell them,” she told Express, over the phone from the UAE where she’s employed. Sharmina also travelled from the Gulf country to Delhi to meet MEA officials, including the minister of state. According to her, if an American ship arrived, her husband’s job profile included informing the American embassy. 

Similarly, when an Indian ship was docked at the Abu Dhabi port, his employers asked him to inform Indian embassy via an email. “This has landed him in jail,” she said.The third Malayali, Manarthadi’s wife and three children have returned from the Gulf nation and are also struggling for survival. Tamil Nadu native Tennarasu Arumughan, who was serving a three-year term for ‘espionage’ recently completed his term and was released.


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