Six Bangladeshi workers return home from death row in UAE jail

Last Updated: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 22:04

Dhaka: Six Bangladeshi workers, who were
sentenced to death in the United Arab Emirates three years ago
for murdering a Pakistani national, have returned home after
the government secured their release by paying "blood money"
to the victim`s family, officials said on Sunday.

"The six Bangladeshi workers returned home in two
different dates from Dubai this week after the UAE justice
authorities ordered their release as the victim`s family
agreed to pardon them in exchange of blood money in line with
UAE`s Sharia law," a senior official of the expatriate welfare said to a news agency.

First secretary of Bangladesh embassy in Dubai Nasrin
Zahan, who was reached by phone, said the six Bangladeshi
workers awaited execution in a UAE jail for the past three
years while a trial court handed down death sentences to them.

The Appellate Court there also upheld the verdict rejecting
their appeal prayers.

"Eventually, we secured their release following
prolonged negotiations with the victim`s family who agreed to
pardon them in exchange of 200,000 Dihrams," said Zahan, who
pursued the case and negotiations in the past three years
after the 2007 murder of the Pakistani worker.

She said the entire amount of the blood money was
provided from the welfare fund of the expatriate welfare
ministry, which also paid another 30,000 dihrams to the lawyer
appointed by the embassy to defend them.

Nasrin said the three years of jail terms were also
counted alongside the amount of the blood money by the UAE
justice and interior ministry authorities and added that she
had attended all the hearings at the UAE’s trial and appeal
courts.

Officials in Dhaka said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
ordered the concerned authorities to pursue their release and
pay the blood money from the government exchequer.

Earlier, reports said the victim Pakistani national,
who too lived in the same labourers dormitory along with the
Bangladeshis in Sharjah city, lost his life in clashes over a
"silly matter" as they were gossiping together after work
hours.

The victim`s family, who live in Pakistan, had
appointed a UAE lawyer to pursue the case and negotiations.

An official, who was familiar with the process, said
lawmaker Mainuddin Khan Badal, whose Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal
(JSD) is an ally of the ruling Awami League-led grand alliance
played a crucial role in securing their release offering the
blood money from the government fund.

Badal could not be contacted immediately for comments
but the official said this was the first time Bangladesh paid
blood money to secure its workers` release.

Nearly four million Bangladeshis work in countries in
the Gulf, mostly as labourers in Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 22:04

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