Odia couple spent eight months in jail in Saudi Arabia for black magic
After spending eight months in a prison in Saudi Arabia on the alleged charges of practicing black magic, a couple of Kendrapara in Odisha returned to their village to tell their ordeals in the jail and police station. They were deported last fortnight after serving their sentence in the jail at Turba, near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Seikh Nizam Ismail (49) and his wife Noorjahan Abdul Sayeed (45) of Dilarpur village within Kendrapara town were arrested on September 10, 2013, on the alleged charges of resorting to black magic on their Saudi employer Mohammad Safi in Turba town. Nizam was working as a driver in the house of his employer, whereas his wife Noorjahan was a maid servant in his house.
The Saudi national lodged a complaint against the couple at the police station in Turba on September 10 and alleged that the couple massaged his body with some oil as he was having spinal code pain. But, he suffered severe pain on his spinal code due to which the police arrested them.
“Police lashed me and my wife in the police station before sending us to jail. My employer was suffering form pain in his spinal cord, so my wife and I massaged his body with Unani oil, which I brought from Odisha. As ill luck would have it, the pain in his spinal cord did not recede for which he suspected that my wife and myself did some black magic on him and the police booked us on the charges of doing black magic as per his complain,” said Seikh Nizam Ismail .
“We were produced in the court of Turba and the court sentenced eight months of imprisonment to us. My wife was lodged in the female ward of the jail. It was a nightmare which I will never forget in my life. We were released from the jail last fortnight and later the government of Saudi Arabia deported us. Now, I am extremely happy after meeting my children and other relatives in my village. We were debarred by the court from entering Saudi Arabia for three years. I have decided to work in any part of India to earn my bread but will not go to any foreign county,” said Nizam.
“Police lashed me in the police station and cut my long hair before sending me to the jail in Turba. I am grateful to the God that the government of Saudi Arab deported us to our motherland . We will never go to any Middle East countries,” said Noorjahan Abdul Sayeed (45), the wife of Nizam.
After the arrest of the couple in last September, all their six children were looked after by an Indian worker for two weeks. Later he handed over the children to the official of Community Welfare Department of Consulate General of India in Jeddah, who helped all the six minor children of the couple in coming back to India three months back.
“Black magic is a criminal offence in Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities have a unit dedicated specifically to hunting witches. Earlier, we helped all the children of the jailed couple in sending them from Saudi Arab back to their village in Odisha,” said Raj Kumar, the community welfare officer of Consulate General of India in Jeddah.
In 2007, an Egyptian pharmacist Mustafa Ibrahim was beheaded in Riyadh after his conviction on charges of “practicing black magic and sorcery. In 2006, Fawza Falih was sentenced to death on charges of “‘witchcraft, recourse to jinn, and slaughter of animals”. She was provided no opportunity to question the testimonies of her witnesses; she was barred from the room when “evidence” was presented; and her legal representation was not permitted to enter the court. After appeals by Human Rights Watch, her execution was delayed, but she died in prison as a result of poor health.
In 2008, a well-known Lebanese television personality, Ali Hussain Sibat, who made a living by telling callers’ fortunes and instructing them on other superstitious matters, was lured into an undercover sting operation while making a religious pilgrimage to Mecca where he was arrested shortly after the police recorded conversations he held about providing a magical elixir to a woman that would force her husband to separate from his second wife. His death sentence was later stayed after outcry from international human rights organisations. An accused witch, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was beheaded in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.
By Ashis Senapati, from Kendrapara