Tortured Sumi returns from Saudi Arabia

Published: 15 Nov 2019 | Updated: 16 Nov 2019   

Samakal Correspondent

Bangladeshi worker Sumi Akter, who went viral on social media seeking help to escape torture by her employer in Saudi Arabia, finally returned home on Friday morning.

An Air Arabia flight carrying her landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 7:15am where Director of Wage Earners’ Welfare Board Md Jahirul Islam received her.

After completing procedures, a team of Wage Earners’ Welfare Board brought her out amid tight security and left the airport for Panchagarh. She was not allowed to speak with the media. Her husband was not allowed to meet her.

Sumi, daughter of Md Rafiqul Islam of Panchagarh’s Boda Upazila, went to Saudi Arabia as a domestic help on May 30.

A video went viral on social media few days ago where Sumi was seen asking for help to be saved from the torture by her employer in Saudi Arabia.

“Please take me back. They’ll kill me. I want to return to my children and family. I’ll be killed if I stay here for some more days,” she is heard saying.

Her husband Nurul Islam filed a general diary with Paltan Police Station in this regard and lodged a complaint with the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training on October 22.

Besides, he submitted an application to Brac’s migration programme on October 27 seeking their help to bring back his wife safely.

Later, with help of Brac, he lodged a complaint with Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry. Responding to the complaint, Bangladesh consulate in Jeddah rescued Sumi from her employer’s residence with help of Saudi police.

Finally, she was brought back on Friday morning.

Although it was informed that she will not be allowed to leave the kingdom unless she pays SAR 22,000 to the employers, a local labour court settled the issue.

Shariful Islam, head of Brac’s migration programme, said there is no information on how many workers are facing torture in Saudi Arabia like Sumi.

There is no supervision from our government or the consulate. The case of Sumi proved that workers can reveal their real condition if they manage to communicate with their families, he said.

Stating that migrant workers, in most cases, are not allowed to use mobile phones, Shariful said the workers should be allowed to inform their family of any danger.

“The scenario would be different if the migrant workers were permitted to use mobile phones,” he added.

86 More Bangldeshis deported

Saudi Arabia sent back 86 more Bangladeshis on Thursday night and Friday, taking the number of deportees to 1,647 in the last two weeks.

A Saudi Airlines flight carrying 86 deportees landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11:20pm on Thursday.

Tales of misery by the deportees are almost similar to those told by other Bangladeshi workers deported earlier.

Liton, who went to the kingdom just 45 days ago, said he had been deported despite having valid visa. Dulal Hossain from Brahmanbaria said Saudi police picked him up when he was going to market and deported him.

“I went there six months ago spending Tk 4.5 lakh,” he added.

Some of the deportees alleged that the employers (Kafil) did not provide work permits (Akama) even after paying necessary amount.

When police detain a worker, the employer does not take responsibility and instructs to deport him, they said.

With Inputs from UNB

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