The online news portal of TV5
Two Filipinos working in the Middle East were sent to jail when a member of Saudi Arabia's cultural police, known as the Muttawa, found a condom in a wallet of one of them.
The condom was found after the police searched their personal belongings, including their wallets, in their accomodation near Riyadh's commercial district, Filipino migrants’ rights group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) said.
"OFWs [Overseas Filipino Workers] ‘Geron’ and ‘Roy’ (not their real names), who were able to speak over the phone to their kin, said they both were shocked and furious that their accommodation was raided and on that same day were sent to jail allegedly in possession of a condom and pornographic video stored in a cell phone," Migrante regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said in a statement.
Undertaken on August 31, 2012, the search was arbitrary, Monterona said.
"The two OFWs were charged with prostitution, a crime punishable of 6 months to 1 year plus a hundred of lashes, if proven guilty," Monterona added.
The group has already conveyed the case of the two jailed OFWs to the attention of the Philippine embassy’s Assistance to the Nationals (ATN) section and sought representation for the two. The group also requested to visit them in jail to get their affidavits.
“We were given an assurance by the Philippine embassy’s ATN official that they will closely follow this case and will recommend to the DFA to hire a local lawyer to defend them in court,” Monterona added.
Monterona further said they have also asked the PH embassy in Riyadh to raise serious concern to appropriate Saudi authorities regarding arbitrary raid on OFWs accommodations searching for evidences against fellow Filipino workers. Similar incidents have been monitored and documented previously, the group said.
"This case depicts a clear violation of 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). We appeal to the concerned authorities 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 tradition of the host government,” Monterona said.