Mangaluru

Saudi authorities silent on Mulky man’s death: HRPF

Ameena, wife of John Monterio, and Karishma, his daughter, Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of Human Rights Protection Foundation, and M. Shantharam Shetty, advocate, at a press conference in Udupi on Monday.

Ameena, wife of John Monterio, and Karishma, his daughter, Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of Human Rights Protection Foundation, and M. Shantharam Shetty, advocate, at a press conference in Udupi on Monday.  

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Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF), said on Monday that neither the authorities in Saudi Arabia nor the Indian Embassy have given a proper reply regarding the death of John Monteiro, an air-conditioner contractor who died in Saudi Arabia in February 2019.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Shanbhag said that John Monteiro hailing from Mulky, Dakshina Kannada district, had moved to Saudi Arabia in 2003 and worked as a contractor of air-conditioning there. His wife, daughter and son in New Delhi were dependent on the remittances sent by him.

John Monteiro’s family were taken aback when they lost contact with him in January 2014. Even their entreaties with regard to his whereabouts failed to get a response. But one day his family in Delhi received a call from John Monteiro.

He told them that he did not know why he was imprisoned and what his crime was. He said that he was called to one of the jails for carrying out air-conditioning work but was arrested. He was not aware of the place where he was detained.

Months later John Monteiro informed his family that he was detained in a small jail, in a small town known as Al-Duwadimi, about 300 km from Riyadh.

His requests to the jail staff to at least produce him in a court for release went unheeded. He was denied permission to contact his friends and acquaintances for help. His efforts to contact the Indian Embassy were unsuccessful.

After four months, he was produced before a court. In the court Arabic was used. John Monteiro’s request for an English translation of the proceedings and legal assistance were denied. The same evening, a jail staff informed him that he has been sentenced for five years in jail.

The jail staff used to physically torture him and he was given sub-standard food. Gradually his health started deteriorating. He was bedridden and his request to be taken to a hospital went unheeded.

His family suffered for four years. He used to assure them of his release from jail and return to India in June 2019 after his sentence ended.

But in January 2019, his health deteriorated further and he died the next month.

His family then shifted to Mulky and approached Human Rights Protection Foundation for help, which has taken up the case, Mr. Shanbhag said.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 2:11:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/saudi-authorities-silent-on-mulky-mans-death-hrpf/article30142799.ece

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