The Kerala Story: Malayalis crowdsource about Rs 30 Cr in four days to save man from gallows in Saudi Arabia

Keralites managed to find Rs 33.24 Cr demanded as blood money by the Riyadh family

Kozhikode-native Abdul Raheem will now walk free from the Saudi jail Kozhikode-native Abdul Raheem will now walk free from the Saudi jail | Manorama

In a story of compassion and community togetherness, Keralites around the world managed to crowdfund around Rs 34 crore to save a fellow Malayali from the gallows in Saudi Arabia. Kozhikode-native Abdul Raheem, who was sentenced to death in the Middle Eastern country, will now walk free as Good Samaritans joined hands to crowdfund the blood money demanded by a Riyadh-based family.

What happened to Abdul Raheem?

Abdul Raheem, who used to be an autorickshaw driver in Kerala, reached Saudi in the first decade of the century. He was hired by a family in Riyadh to take care of a differently-abled teenager along with driving duties. The boy used to breathe and eat using the help of a device attached to his body.

One day, while driving with the 15-year-old, the boy assaulted Raheem for stopping at a traffic signal. While trying to calm the teenager down and protect himself, Abdul Raheem ended up pushing the medical device on the boy's shoulder unintentionally. As it fell inside the car, the boy became unconscious and passed away, Onmanorama said in a report.

In 2018, Raheem was sentenced to death as the family refused to grant amnesty. The Kerala man's appeals were rejected and the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. However, in 2023, Raheem received a ray of hope as the family reconsidered and decided to accept diya (blood money) instead. They demanded 15 million Saudi riyals, approximately Rs 33.24 crore, which was to be paid within six months from the deal's signing on October 16, 2023. 

Happy ending as people join hands

With the deadline fast approaching and Abdul Raheem's fate on the line, people across the stratas of life in Kerala joined hands to crowdsource the money. Until last week, the crowdfunding effort could only manage to find Rs 5 crore. However, as the deadline loomed, an aggressive campaign was launched via social media and the volunteers managed to find the entire amount in just four days' time, Manorama Online said. The representatives of the committee held a press conference on Friday and declared that they finally managed to find the required sum. NRIs, businessmen and political leadership were part of the effort that ensured Raheem's return after 18 years.

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