Friday, October 26, 2012

Family clueless about doctor detained in Saudi Arabia

BANGALORE, October 26, 2012

Over a fortnight after he was picked up by the Saudi Arabian police, the family of Usmane Ghani, a doctor who hails from Dharwad, has no clue about his whereabouts.

Dr. Ghani, who worked at the King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Riyadh, was detained on the basis of a request by the Bangalore police which is investigating an alleged plot to assassinate prominent Hindutva leaders and some journalists.


Dr. Ghani's mother, Fathima Khan, told journalists here on Thursday, that he was picked up from the national guard hospital at 2 p.m. on October 8.

"Since then, we have not heard anything from either the Saudi Arabian or the Indian authorities. We have been running from pillar to post," she said.

Immediately after Dr. Ghani was detained by the Saudi Arabian police, his wife Rashida confronted the police as well as Indian embassy authorities; both claimed they had no clue about his whereabouts.


This is not the first time Dr. Ghani's family is facing such an ordeal. He was summoned in connection with a terror case by the Karnataka police in 2008 when he was employed in a Kerala hospital. He was found to be innocent and allowed to leave the country and take up a job in Saudi Arabia.

Stressing that the family had the right to know the grounds on which he has been detained, Ms. Khan said,

"They [Saudi Arabian and Indian agencies] are feigning ignorance despite the news being telecast on Saudi Arabia TV for an entire day."

She said it was the duty of the Indian embassy to "protect the rights" of Indian citizens in foreign land. Quoting sections of the Vienna Convention, to which India is a signatory, Ms. Khan said it was incumbent on the consulate officials to seek information on Indian nationals detained in a foreign country. Section 36 of the convention grants the consulate officials power to arrange for legal assistance for the accused, she said.

"The Indian government has been biased in providing consular access and has not treated its own citizens equally. It is quick to help the rich and powerful but feigns ignorance when it comes to ordinary citizens," she charged.

She threatened to file a habeas corpus petition before the Karnataka High Court and demanded that the Indian government provide her with a visa so that she could visit her son.
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