Support Indian Social Activist imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for 35 days without reason

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Dear Friends/Concerned Citizens of India,

Dominic Simon, imprisoned in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on unstated charges needs support of Indian Citizens to impel urgent intervention of MEA, GOI, and Embassy in Saudi Arabia to facilitate release from Prison, ASAP. This injustice and indignity must not be suffered by any other respectable NRIs abroad. Please sign this appeal to Govt Dept/Officials concerned.

We draw your attention to the dire situation in which one of our upright public-spirited NRI Citizens from Kerala finds himself at the present time. Your support is needed to help him and indirectly help all of our NRIs who might find themselves in a similar sorry plight in the future.

Mr. Dominic Simon, who has been living and working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as an IT professional working for a reputed IT company in Riyadh, was taken by the Saudi Police on 8th /9th July from his home, detained at a police station in Riyadh and, later, shifted to the Al-Hair prison. The reasons for his arrest are not known until now!

Mr. Dominic Simon's recent arrest in Saudi Arabia was on some vague grounds which have not been communicated to his family or friends since 8th / 9th July. Further, what is worrying is that not many details are available about the reasons for his arrest. Dominic has been missing for several days, and his family in India – his elderly Mother and siblings - are very worried and highly stressed about his situation of being incarcerated in a prison in a foreign land. No  communication with him has added to their feelings of deep foreboding.

No complaint has been made against Dominic by authorities there; nor have they taken any action against Mr. Dominic Simon.

Dominic needs the support of all of us to get the MEA in India and Embassy in Saudi Arabia to act as soon as possible to facilitate his release from Prison.

Dominic's Record as Concerned/ Helpful NRI:

Dominic, who is presently in Prison in Riyadh, was the Chairman on the Management Committee of International Indian Public School, a Community School under the patronage of the Embassy of India in Riyadh. He was nominated to this post by the very same Embassy, only. He has been based there for some time now in relation to his professional obligations and work. He has always been helpful to the Indian Community in Saudi Arabia. During the time of Covid spread, he was in the forefront in extending help. He was also very involved in trying to solve the flight-related issues for evacuation of NRI people from Riyadh.
Dominic was a Social Activist in the truest sense, and he also used his knowledge as an RTI Activist extensively to help his fellow NRIs there. In fact, he was the recipient of ‘Pravasi Legal Cell Award' for Best RTI Activist.

Dominic is an Exemplary Citizen:

Dominic Simon is a very respectable Citizen of India with no criminal background whatsoever. He has not indulged in any unlawful behaviour in the past, either. In fact, he has only been very helpful to the Indian community in Saudi Arabia, as per reports, and has always helped his Indian ‘brothers and sisters’ in case of distress. He was a vocal supporter of citizens' Right to Information and has been regularly undertaking RTI Awareness Sessions and supporting the Indian Diaspora in Riyadh. He had recently highlighted the first priority rights of repatriation of Vulnerable Persons (pregnant ladies, elderly people, etc.) and, perhaps, this caused him to come on the radar of some unscrupulous people who may have been manipulating the priority list.

To further inform about the sad plight of an honest Non-Resident Indian Citizen, as per information come in so far, it is ascertained that Mr. Dominic Simon has been arrested by the Saudi Government. However, it is submitted that, though Mr. Dominic was a social media activist, he always wrote only about some Indian organizations and about a few corrupt incidents / practices in India, and not about the Saudi Government. The manner and opacity of the arrest constitutes a deep injustice and violation of human rights.

His Resident Identity Card (Iqama) has expired and couldn’t be renewed. Because of this reason, he has been unable to arrange for a Saudi advocate to enquire and find out the reasons for his arrest.

Dominic has little knowledge of Arabic, and hence it is difficult for him to communicate with Saudi Police and jail authorities.

What is amply clear is that Dominic is in immediate need of legal aid to be arranged by the Indian Embassy in Riyadh.

His arrest is also not justified and proper as the Indian Mission / Embassy in Saudi Arabia has not made any complaint, nor has it taken any action against Mr. Dominic Simon.

Family of Dominic in Helpless Desperation:

Furthermore, he has a dependent family, consisting of his wife and three young children who are left in the lurch in the present trying circumstances. No relatives or friends are available to help them, personally. Dominic's wife and 3 small kids, of whom the youngest one is only 2 years old, are stranded in Riyadh. And, there is no one in Riyadh to take care of them.

From reports coming from his wife, his family in India is unable to even sleep, since they are all extremely tense, afraid and depressed. Their plight is even more terrible due to the effects of the current pandemic spread in India. They are desperately hoping to get support from the Indian Government to facilitate their return to their home in Kerala. Our signatures/support will go a long way in speeding up the process.

Indian Embassy’s Duty to Arrange Release:

Further, the Embassy of India in any country is the first point of contact for the Indian citizens based abroad and, inter alia, is duty bound to provide complete assistance to the Indian Citizens and, also, to coordinate with the family and friends of such citizen in case of any such unfortunate incident.

In the recent Italian Marines case (2012 to 2020), also, the Italian Mission in India had taken proactive measures to secure the release of the two imprisoned Marines and protect them. Similarly, the Indian Government must assist and take proactive steps to protect its citizens based in foreign lands from harassment and intimidation under foreign laws which are thrust upon them.  

Even if Mr. Dominic Simon has written any critical posts on social media, those are in respect of the Indian Polity and of its policies, and thus, since no objectionable content was posted online against the Saudi Government, this is an internal matter of the Indian Government.
In such a premise, it is warranted in this case, also, that the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia shall come forward to help protect Mr. Dominic Simon.

His family and friends in Kerala are extremely worried, and they have no option but to rely upon and seek the intervention of the MEA, GOI. We, therefore, need to add our signatures to this appeal, so that it reaches the authorities at the earliest to propel them to do the needful for release of Mr. Dominic Simon.

Our Signatures will impel help in this and in future cases, too:

We, as Citizens of India, can help to get Dominic and his Family the much needed support from the Indian Govt and Saudi Embassy.
If we all sign this Petition and forward it to the concerned authorities, asap, not only will this help Dominic, but it will strengthen the protections for our NRIs from injustice and human rights violations in foreign lands.
Let us stand by our NRI Brothers and Sisters! 

Dominic's relevant Twitter post

Relevant Kochi news story

Adv. Murali's Twitter Post