Rs 34 crore raised via crowdfunding to secure Kerala man's release from Saudi jail

Abdul Rahim, who hails from Kozhikode, has spent 18 years behind bars in the Gulf nation for allegedly killing a Saudi boy in 2006.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

KOZHIKODE: The deadline loomed like the sword of Damocles but an astonishing four days is all it took for people in Kerala to channel their compassion and rally together to raise an astounding Rs 34 crore to save a man from the state from the gallows in Saudi Arabia.

In a display of solidarity, people in Kerala have come together to save Abdul Rahim, who hails from Kozhikode, whose only chance to live is to pay the blood money of 15 million Saudi Riyals which comes to around Rs 34 crore, before April 18, 2024.

Rahim has spent 18 years behind bars in the Gulf nation for allegedly killing a Saudi boy in 2006.

Until five days ago, the action committee, formed to work for the release of Rahim, could raise only a meagre amount but as the deadline neared, the campaign was intensified and help poured in from Kerala people from across the world, the action committee formed to help Rahim, said on Friday.

Image used for representational purpose.
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Local people said Rahim was jailed in 2006 after he accidently caused the death of a specially-abled boy whom he was taking care of. He was sentenced to death in 2018 after the family of the Saudi boy refused to grant amnesty.

The action committee members told the media that the appeals were rejected by the top courts but later the family agreed to pardon Rahim if he pays 'blood money.'

Praising the spirit of Kerala people, Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, said it was the "Real Kerala Story" of compassion and truth.

He said in the face of relentless hate campaigns targeting Kerala, "the indomitable spirit of Malayalis shines through", upholding together the state's resilience and compassion.

"Abdul Rahim's story, a Kerala man facing execution in Saudi Arabia, symbolises this resistance. With 34 crore rupees raised for his release, Kerala's commitment to its people and values is crystal clear, shattering divisive lies.

"Gratitude to all those who joined hands for this humanitarian cause. United, we'll continue sharing the Real Kerala Story of compassion and truth," Vijayan posted on X.

The action committee, which met the media said more than 75 organisations in the Gulf region, along with Kerala-based businessman Bobby Chemmannur and various political organisations in the state, worked tirelessly in the last few days to meet the deadline.

"Thousands of common people contributed whatever they could and all helped us to raise the money," a member of the committee told the media here.

His mother said she never thought that such an amount could be raised.

"I had no hope as we have no means to raise Rs 34 crore. But somehow it was all made possible," she said.

The committee said all the transactions were through a mobile application created for the purpose of crowdsourcing and it ensures transparency in the matter. Chemmanur organised multiple events in the past few days to raise money. He also arranged for the sale of one of his products and donated the amount for the cause. The businessman has also assured to give a job to Rahim once he is back in the state.

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The New Indian Express