Moved by Pak convict’s plight, judge helps raise blood money

Updated 03 February 2013

Moved by Pak convict’s plight, judge helps raise blood money

A top judge at the Jeddah Summary Court has paved the way for the release on humanitarian grounds of an imprisoned Pakistani convicted of murder.
But bureaucratic wrangles have delayed the release of 50-year-old Mohammad Naeem, who has been incarcerated for 12 years in prison, said a court official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Shaikh Ibrahim Al-Salama, president of Jeddah Summery Court, helped raise SR 110,000 in blood money through philanthropists with intent to get Naeem pardoned.
Naeem was scheduled to be released from custody on Monday.
“The guy should be out and sent back home but his papers are stuck in the prison because of red-tapism,” the court official said. “Usually, it takes few days to release a pardoned inmate but unfortunately it takes longer time to release non-Saudis until deportation papers are finalized.”
The official said that Naeem appeared mentally ill when Al-Salama tried to speak to him during a recent court appearance. “It appeared that Naeem was unaware of his surroundings.”
Naeem’s mental health appears to have deteriorated after his case for a pardon passed over on numerous occasions. The government routinely provides pardons during Ramadan.
“I think being in prison for 12 years for only SR110,000 and seeing his cellmates included in pardons but not him made him lose hope of ever getting out of the jail,” said the official.
Prison officers watching his cell also noticed that he was acting strange lately.
At the time of the murder and subsequent conviction, the court convinced the victim’s family to accept the blood money of SR110,000 and pardon him, but Naeem’s family did not have the ability to raise the money.
The president of Jeddah Summary Court convinced several philanthropists who donated the money. The pardon was approved after the total sum was raised. Release procedures then began.
The official told Arab News that many expatriates are detained in prison for many years in private right cases. Sometimes they spend 10 to 15 years for blood money sums that amount to only SR 100,000 to SR 200,000.
Suicides are not uncommon among prisoners who lose hope of ever achieving freedom.
The court official blamed the current system in courts and the prisons administration for not following up the condition of private right detainees.
He also said that some of the money claimers refuse to pardon defendants, although they spend as much as 10 years in custody. But judges are volunteering to negotiate between the parties. Judges are willing to contact businessmen and philanthropists if necessary to donate for the pardon.

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.