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1800 Filipinos Languish in Saudi Jails

On February 17, 2010

There are 1800 Filipinos in jail in Saudi Arabia, many of whom have been imprisoned for petty crimes such as drinking alcohol or attending 'mixed gatherings', which the government prohibits (See full story here) The King of Saudi Arabia gave a pardon on Dec 11th last year for foreign workers jailed on minor charges, but many are still enduring an agonizing wait to see if they will be released.

Omar Pacawan Sibug, a 35-year old Filipino, has been in jail for six months for being caught at a 'mixed gathering'. He is still waiting to hear his fate. 'We are about 50 people here in Cell No.15. Like me, others are also hoping to avail themselves of the pardon given by the King but the waiting is agonizing,' he is quoted as telling John Leonard Monterona, Regional Coordinator of NGO Migrante-Middle East.

Many of those who are in jail are the victims of 'frame-ups' - particularly for alcohol-related offences. Migrante Middle East has appealed to the Philippine Embassy to provide those who released from jail with assistance, such as plane tickets back home.