Sunday, August 14, 2011

Philippines awaits royal pardon for jailed Saudi OFWs

MANILA – The Philippines has submitted a list of names of Filipino workers jailed in various prisons in Saudi Arabia for possible pardon of their crimes, a long tradition held by the Kingdom during the holy month of Ramadan.

John Leonard Monterona, a regional coordinator for Migrante-Middle East, a Filipino migrant group, said he has spoken Sunday with the Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ezzadin Tago, who confirmed about the list.

“We have known that there are 15 provincial pardon committees were created by the Saudi government tasked to review the cases of inmates who have committed petty crimes without private rights liabilities under its jurisdiction,” Monterona said.

“The royal pardon grant only covers petty crimes offenses such as illicit affairs, mixed crowd, gambling, harboring criminals and absconders, and illegal possession and selling liquor, among others, which do not constitute private rights aspect of the offense committed,” he added.

He said some 600 workers, who committed petty crimes and languishing in jails, could get the royal pardon.

“As per our estimates, there are about 400 to 600 OFWs languishing in Saudi jails for petty crime offenses who may qualify for the royal pardon recently announced by the host government,” Monterona said.

“We are calling on the various Philippine diplomatic posts in the Middle East to arrange and seek for clemency of OFW inmates, especially those who have spent longer terms in jail, on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan wherein host governments are considerate to the plight of OFWs in prison,” he said.

Monterona’s group is active in helping distressed OFWs in the Middle East. (Mindanao Examiner)

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