KOCHI: At a time when hopes are rekindled over the release of nurse Nimisha Priya in Yemen, the case of Muvattupuzha native Muhammed Ibrahim, who is serving a 10-year sentence at Al-Wathba prison in UAE from 2014, seems to be heading nowhere.
Ibrahim, now 49, is serving a jail term of 10 years and was fined one million dirhams (Rs 2 crore) after he was convicted of spying for India in March 2014. He was working as a ‘port-coordinator’ at Meena Port, Abu Dhabi, when he was arrested. His family has maintained that he is innocent and that some officers in the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi misguided him to source sensitive information on the arrival of a ship at the port.
“My husband has already served eight years in jail. If you go by the Arab calendar, he completed his full jail term in March, but they have not released him,” lamented Sunithal, Ibrahim’s wife. She said her family has met MP Shashi Tharoor, who has taken up the matter with Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
While Tharoor informed the family that the Ministry of External Affairs has promised to intervene, there’s no visible progress. “We have been taking up the matter with the Centre for the past six to seven years, and frankly, we have lost hope. We are concerned about Ibrahim’s health,” she said. Sunithal said her husband’s health is deteriorating and he has lost vision in one eye. She said he cannot even speak for three minutes whenever they talk on the phone.
Ever since her husband was lodged in UAE jail, Sunithal has been struggling to fund the studies of their four children — one son and three daughters. While the son is taking up house surgency after MBBS, the daughters are in BSc Microbiology (3rd sem), Class 10 and 4, respectively. “I have taken a loan of Rs 6 lakh for my son’s education. I’m told that the repayment should start during the house surgency period itself,” she said. With no legal or diplomatic support, Sunithal is hoping and praying that her husband will come out of jail soon, if not this year, then at least next year.