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Saudi Arabia: Indian migrant who made tearful video about work conditions is jailed under law forbidding "spreading misinformation" on social media

Abdul Sattar Makandar, a truck driver, who worked for  Al Suroor United Group in Saudi Arabia has been jailed after his tearful video went viral.  The Al Suroor United Group denies the allegations made in the video which included statements that he was being prevented from going home and was not being paid a proper salary.

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Article
21 March 2016

Saudi Arabia 'jails' Indian migrant who made tearful video about work conditions

Author: Will Worley, Independent (UK)

An Indian migrant worker who made an emotional plea on social media about his working conditions in Saudia Arabia has been jailed, according to activists. Abdul Sattar Makandar, a truck driver, made a video which shows him crying in desperation about his situation. The video, posted to social media by Indian human rights activistKundan Srivastava, was shared widely in India. Human rights activists now fear for his life. In his video, Mr Makandar says: "I have been in Saudi Arabia for the last 23 months, and have applied for leave to come home over five months ago. “But my employer is not letting me go home... My employer doesn't give me a proper salary, neither does he give me money for food,"...Mr Srivastava said he later took down the post - which had since been posted widely elsewhere - and apologised to the engineering and construction company, Al Suroor United Group, after approaches from the firm's legal representatives. He said Mr Makandar has now been jailed having been initially arrested under a Saudi law which prevents "spreading misinformation" on social media. However, his uncertain status and limited contact with the outside world has greatly concerned activists.

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Article
19 March 2016

Indian worker’s tearful plea to leave Saudi Arabia

Author: BBC News

A video plea by an Indian man has once again prompted discussion about the issue of the working conditions for migrants in Gulf countries - although the facts of the case are heavily disputed. Abdul Sattar Makandar was hired for a job driving trucks in Saudi Arabia via a recruitment agency in Mumbai. But now two years on, he says he's been denied leave to visit his home in India, and claims the company hasn't always paid him on time...After the activist posted it to Facebook, Makandar's tearful plea for help was watched more than one million times. Under Saudi law, foreign workers can't leave the country without the permission of their employers - just one element of the Gulf system of kafala, which limits the rights of foreign workers....In Makandar's case, his employer, the Al Suroor United Group, strongly denies his story. They say they he was eligible for leave after two years of service and that he's about six weeks short of that milestone. They also say he's been paid on time and even given a bonus, and that he could resign from his job at any time... Makandar was recruited by Al Suroor through an Indian agency called Discomb Gulf Travels. Discomb's managing director Riyaz Batey told BBC Trending that they had not been aware that Makandar was unhappy until the video appeared online. He said that the driver should have contacted them for help first. But he added that he had bank statements which showed Makandar had been paid on time.

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