Air India captain writes to MEA, alleges 'human right violations' in Saudi

| Updated: Aug 01, 2017 05:06 IST

New Delhi [India], July 31 (ANI): After the crew members of the Air India flight from Mumbai to Jeddah flight were detained in Saudi Arabia for three hours due to a permit issue on June 26, a senior Air India Captain has requested the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to take cognizance in the matter and find an amicable solution by coordinating with the appropriate department at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. "We believe your office will take swift necessary step to resolve this issue faced by pilots and crew, who are not just airline employees but citizens of this country. We are ready to correspond and cooperate with your office in any matter that is reasonably possible from our side," the letter by the senior Air India Captain read. The letter further reads that it is reliably confirmed that the passports of pilots and crew members were detained and in turn, a document to the effect of an entry visa is issued for the purpose of entering the country or leaving the airport. "This practice is not recognized by Saudi Arabia's own laws and it is in direct violation of human rights. In fact, a member of the National Society of Human Rights has clarified as early as of 2011 that Saudi laws allow a non - Saudi to keep his or her passport and that the passport belongs only to its holder," the statement said. The incident took place on June 26 when the crew members of the national carrier landed in Jeddah. The crew members of the Air India flight 931 were returning to their hotel after having dinner when their taxi was intercepted by Saudi police for a routine permit checking. Despite showing a copy of immigration and valid Air India IDs, they were put in the police vans and were told not to use cell phones. Subsequently, one of the crew members made a call to their hotel and explained the situation giving their location. Following which two hotel staff came for their release. But despite showing the immigration paper to the police, the crew members were taken to the police station. Later, cell phones of the crew members were confiscated and all of them were locked inside a room. Three hours later, an Arab hotel staffer came and explained the police official about their identity following which they were released. The crew members and the air hostess were detained as copies of permits are not valid in Jeddah. The crew members upon reaching the hotel got a call from the station manager, Jeddah, who enquired about the incident. The station manager said that the amnesty period is over in Saudi and the government is throwing out illegal immigrants. (ANI)