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Three Keralites saved from execution in Saudi Arabia

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Three Keralites saved from execution in Saudi Arabia
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Riyadh: Three Indians on death row in Saudi Arabia for the murder of their compatriot have been saved from being executed after an Indian businessman paid nearly USD 133,200 in blood money on their behalf.

The three convicts, Fasal Iritti, 35, Mustafa Kunnath, 33, and M Shakeer, 36, all natives of Kerala, were released from Al-Hair prison in Riyadh where they had been awaiting execution for the murder of Ashraf, a native of Mangalore in Karnataka, the Arab News reported.

"All three men were released Wednesday and left for home where they reached today," Shihab Kottukad, Riyadh coordinator of the Non-Resident Keralites' Affairs Department said.

The three had attacked Ashraf following a scuffle in which the latter was killed. When they tried to hide the body in a nearby dumpster, they were caught red-handed by a Haia patrol which handed them over to Riyadh police.

After their murder conviction and sentencing in May 2008, their families had approached Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and made an appeal to save their lives.

They also sought the assistance of the Indian Embassy in the Kingdom and contacted the victim's family living in Riyadh. The family agreed to pardon them in lieu of blood money.

Kottukad said the victim's father, Abdul Qadeer, initially asked for 2 million Saudi Riyals in blood money but eventually agreed to settle for 4,90,000 Saudi riyals (nearly USD 133,200).

Blood money is the money paid in compensation to the family of someone who has been killed.

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