Jeddah: In a quirk of fate, a Hyderabadi woman who worked in Saudi Arabia for over a decade as a lab technician before returning home in 2015, was arrested by the Saudi police when she landed in Jeddah along with her parents to perform Umrah last December. She was sentenced to a year in prison and a penalty of Saudi Riyals 5,000 followed by deportation for forging her education certificate to secure a job in the Gulf country.
The family of Noori Banu (name changed), a resident of Nampally, has approached MBT leader Amjadullah Khan who in turn has sought the help of Indian Embassy through Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj for her early release from the prison.
The family has sought reduction of jail term and early release of Banu in the month of Ramzan, when rulers in the Gulf region, as a practice for decades, order mass pardon of prisoners serving term for minor offences.
Banu had worked as a lab technician in the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia for over a decade, and returned home in 2015. Saudi authorities, however, found that Banu had furnished forged lab technician diploma to secure the job but only after she returned to Hyderabad.
Though she completed one year diploma course in India in lab technology, she had produced a fake certificate that showed the duration of course as much longer than what she had actually studied. The Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS) made it mandatory for all health professionals to produce academic as well as experience certificates for new and existing health personnel. SCHS verifies certificates of all health personnel who graduated in foreign countries through exclusive international reputed agency in India and other countries.
Scores of Indian paramedics especially nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians furnished such certificates that was rampant at that time to increase selection prospects during interviews in India. They were selected and took up the jobs in Saudi. However, sensing trouble ahead after the launch of the verification, most of such paramedics left Saudi Arabia. Health authorities formally lodged complaints against all such people who submitted false certificates, and in that process, Banu was notified as criminal for forgery and police registered a case against her in 2015.
But unaware of this, Banu along with her parents decided to perform Umrah. When the family arrived at Jeddah Airport last December, she was detained and shifted to Dammam where a case was registered.
Banu was found guilty of forgery by the court recently and sentenced. She was assisted by noted woman community worker Manju Manikuttan during her trial in the court.