2 Filipinos nabbed in Saudi for possession of condom, porn video

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AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Two Filipino workers have been arrested in Riyadh for alleged possession of a condom and a pornographic video in a cell phone, according to a migrants’ rights group.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator, said Saudi Arabia’s cultural police known as Muttawa raided the workers’ home and searched through all their belongings.

“This case depicts a clear violation of a migrant’s right to privacy and to secure himself as guaranteed in the UN Convention on the Protection of Migrants and Members of their Families and of the International Human Rights Law (IHL),” Monterona said in a statement.

“We appeal to the authorities concerned to respect our rights as migrant workers and human beings as we vow to strictly follow the immigration rules and respect the social norms and traditions of the host government,” he said.

Quoting a relative of one of the Filipinos, Monterona said the Muttawa entered the workers’ home which was adjacent to Riyadh’s commercial district on August 31.

“OFWs Geron and Roy [not their real names], who were able to speak over the phone to their relatives, said they were both shocked and furious that their accommodation was raided and that on the same day they were taken to the Al-hair jail in Riyadh allegedly for possession of a condom and pornographic video stored in a cell phone,” Monterona said.

He said the two were charged with prostitution, a crime punishable by six months to one year in prison and 100 lashes.

Monterona said his group had brought the case to the attention of the Philippine Embassy’s Assistance to Nationals section and sought representation and jail visits to get their affidavits.

“We were assured by the Philippine Embassy’s ATN official that they would closely follow this case and would recommend to the Department of Foreign Affairs that a local lawyer be hired to defend them in court,” he said.

Monterona said they had also asked the embassy in Riyadh to raise serious concerns with Saudi authorities about the arbitrary raids conducted on OFW accommodations searching for evidence against them, noting that similar incidents had been monitored and documented previously.

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