They have been accused of causing a loss of Rs. 13 crore to the local telecom company.

Eight youths from Dakshina Kannada have been languishing in a jail in Jeddah, the capital of Saudi Arabia, since March 2003 on charges of routing telephone calls illegally.

They have been accused of causing a loss of Rs. 13 crore to the local telecom company.

The family members of the youth are unable to pay up the penalty that is being demanded to compensate the loss as a precondition for their release and hence they are looking for help, said T.M. Shahid, member of the Coir Board, Government of India.

He told presspersons here on Wednesday that the case against these youths had been registered by a Saudi telecom company. He said the families of the youths had approached the Union and the State governments, besides petitioning various Saudi Arabian agencies, but their efforts had borne no result. They were now looking for help from donors, and the Union Government for a solution. Family members of an accused claimed that the charges were false and that the real culprits had not been booked.

The names of the youths languishing in the jail were given as Nasir Mohammed of Bunder, Mangalore, Faiz Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed both from Bajpe, Hussain Ahmed of Kudroli, Yusuf Mohammed Shafi of Ullal, Mohammed Ashraf of Surathkal, Mohammed Sharif of B.C. Road, and Mohammed Ayub of Adyar-Kannur.

Demand

Mr. Shahid said the authorities had been demanding compensation ranging from 80,000 Saudi Riyals to three million Saudi Riyals in the four separate cases booked against them.

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