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Facing arrest, dead debt defaulter's kin seek help.

Summary: TAIF: The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) is looking into a complaint filed by the heirs of a dead Saudi man whose arrest warrant was issued by a court in Taif following their failure to clear a SR5 million debt owed by their father.


The 11 heirs have called on the NSHR to stop the implementation of the order, issued by the Public Court in Taif, which they say is an "injustice and a violation of human rights." The Taif court directed the region's governorate to arrest the 11 people, who include some women, for failure to clear the man's debt. The man died around a year ago.

One of the heirs told Arab News that the court issued a directive nearly one year ago asking the authorities to take his father's heirs into custody until the debt is cleared. He added that when his father was alive, the court issued an order calling on him to pay off the debt. But when he died, the court sent a letter to the governor of Taif directing him to arrest the heirs if they failed to clear the debt.

As a result, authorities in Taif have started implementing the court's directive and arrested two of the deceased man's heirs who are in prison in Taif. A manhunt has also been launched to arrest other members of the family, including some women.

The bank accounts of all of the heirs have also been temporarily frozen. "The banks have also stopped disbursing the salaries of two of them. As a result of these pressure tactics to force them to surrender, the heirs are leading precarious and miserable lives and are unable to even meet their day-to-day requirements," said sources close to the family.

Members of the family expressed dismay at the court ruling to punish them for their father's debt. "Even though the family members have authorized one of them as their power of attorney and this has been documented, it is strange and surprising that the court has issued a directive calling for the arrest of the entire family and not just the one who has been given the power of attorney," said the source.

"This has virtually forced the family members to lead separate and isolated lives for fear of being caught. Some of them are afraid of leaving their homes and some are forced to stay away from their work places," said the source, adding that the family plans to take up the issue with the NSHR and use the media.

Some family members said they have already settled their father's debts. "After this, a man approached us with a legal document that showed that our father owed him SR5.12 million. This was an utter shock for us," said a member of the family.

The heirs had also earlier drawn the court's attention to their inability to clear such a huge debt. "We also told the court that one of us was given the power of attorney immediately after our father's death. However, the court's reaction was disappointing and it renewed the instructions to pay the full amount without any delay," said the family member.

The family now wants the NSHR to address the issue and safeguard their human rights.

Copyright: Arab News 2009 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Dec 19, 2010
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