In a rare gesture, Keralites across the globe have joined hands for raising a whopping ₹34 crore to pay as ‘blood money’ for the rescue of a Kozhikode native Abdul Rahim, who was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.

The humanitarian aid was collected in around four days. Businessmen like Bobby Chemmannur have extended their support. A legal assistance committee was also formed in Kozhikode for the fundraising campaign.

Abdul Rahim was sentenced to death 18 years ago for allegedly killing a differently abled Saudi boy whom he was caring for. He was found guilty of detaching a medical device that assisted the boy’s breathing.

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He was sentenced to death in 2018 and the verdict was upheld by the country’s supreme court. However, the sentence was put on hold after the boy’s family agreed to accept blood money for an amount of 15 million Saudi Riyals (₹33.24 crore). The validity of the deal will end on April 16, 2024.

Keralites working in the Gulf region had done everything possible, including a Biriyani challenge and selling tea to collect the amount.

Hailing Malayalees for supporting a noble cause, the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the initiative as “Real Kerala Story” referring to the controversial Hindi movie that criticised the secular credentials of the State.

“In the face of relentless hate campaigns targeting Kerala, the indomitable spirit of Malayalis shine through, upholding together Kerala’s resilience and compassion,” the Chief Minister posted on social media platform X. 

Abdul Rahim’s story, a Keralite facing execution in Saudi Arabia, symbolises this resistance. With ₹34 crore raised through his release, Kerala’s commitment to its people and values is crystal clear, shattering divisive lives,” he said.