25 October 2012
Condom in a wallet hurled OFWs in Saudi jail
A man who keeps a condom in a wallet or pocket may think that it will not pose him a problem. Well, that is if you’re not working or living in the Middle East.
Two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were sent to jail when Saudi’s cultural police, locally known as Muttawa, found from one of them a condom in a wallet, according to a Filipino migrants’ rights group.
Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said their group affiliate in Riyadh, Saudi’s capital, acting on a request for assistance from the kin of one of the two jailed OFWs, said that on August 31, 2012 the Muttawas raided the OFWs’ accommodation located adjacent to Riyadh’s commercial district and arbitrarily searched all their personal belongings including their wallets where a condom was found on the wallet of one of them.
“OFWs ‘Geron’ and ‘Roy’ (not their real names), who were able to speak over the phone to their kin, said they both were shocked and furious that their accommodation was raided and on that same day were sent to jail allegedly in possession of a condom and pornographic video stored in a cell phone,” Monterona added.
That was a surprised or arbitrary search and seizure claimed by the OFWs, Monterona citing the OFWs who were detained in Al-hair jail also in Riyadh.
“The two OFWs were charged of prostitution, a crime punishable of 6 months to 1 year plus a hundred of lashes, if proven guilty,” Monterona added.
Monterona said they have already conveyed the case of the two jailed OFWs to the attention of the PH embassy’s Assistance to the Nationals (ATN) section and sought representation for the two and had requested to visit them in jail to get their affidavits.
“We were given an assurance by the PH embassy’s ATN official that they will closely follow this case and will recommend to the DFA to hire a local lawyer to defend them in court,” Monterona added.
Monterona further said they have also asked the PH embassy in Riyadh to raise serious concern to appropriate Saudi authorities regarding arbitrary raid on OFWs accommodations searching for evidences against fellow Filipino workers noting that similar incidents have been monitored and documented previously.
“This case depicts a clear violation of migrant’s right to privacy and to secure himself as guaranteed in the UN Convention on the Protection of Migrants and Members of their Families and of the International Human Rights Law (IHL). We appeal to the concerned authorities to respect our rights as migrant workers and human beings as we vow to strictly follow the immigration rules and respect the social norms and tradition of the host government,” Monterona appealed. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No. 00966 543547736