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Saudi Arabia: Indian spared from execution

December 21, 2006 10:38 IST

An Indian worker in Saudi Arabia will not be executed for trespassing into the "only Muslim" part of the holy city of Medina, despite demands for his execution.

Jojo Joseph, who hails from Kerala, was arrested by the Saudi police for allegedly trespassing Medina earlier this week while he was on his way to hospital to see his wife, who had given birth to their child.

Indian ambassador to the kingdom Farook told Arab News on Wednesday that Joseph would not face stiff penalties for his alleged trespass.

He was never tried, did not face an enduring prison sentence, nor the death penalty for his alleged crime, Farook said, denying media reports.

Farook said Joseph had made "enough noise" about his arrest and told his family members that he could be beheaded, but he was released on Tuesday after being detained for three days.

"The Saudi authorities took a lenient view of the case after they were convinced that the man did not deliberately commit the mistake of entering the holy city's restricted areas," the ambassador said.

There is no such recorded incident where a non-Muslim has been executed for trespassing restricted space in Medina or Mecca.