Migrante-ME warns of arbitrary raids in Saudi

Tracking down drug mules or undocumented migrants?

QUEZON City, Nov. 5, 2010—Migrante Middle East, an alliance of Filipino workers based in Middle East, has sounded the alarm over arbitrary raids in Saudi, in guise of the Kingdom’s anti-drug campaign, but only to crackdown illegal or undocumented migrant workers staying there.

Migrante-ME regional coordinator John Monterona told CBCPNews in an email, that his office has been receiving several requests for assistance from families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been arrested for allegations of possession of illegal or regulated drugs.

“The Saudi police have been doing raids, sporadically in selected foreign workers’ quarters or apartments, allegedly for illegal drugs. However, we notice that the local authorities have shifted, from hunting down drug mules to arresting migrant workers with insufficient or no documents at all,” Monterona said.

Last September, there have been two cases of Filipino workers, who have been jailed due allegation of illegal possession of drugs. The unidentified OFWs were arrested after the police said that they have found sachets of heroin in their things, said Monterona.

“The authorities have allegedly found a sachet of heroin in their possession, though the 2 OFWs denied the allegations; on mid-October, the court have sentenced them for 3 years imprisonment and 600 lashes, and then they will be deported,” Monterona said.

Monterona said the families of the alleged drug mules have already sought the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs to appeal their cases before the Saudi Court. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews.com)