Home Page

  Communalism Combat

  India Rights & Wrongs






  Action Alerts




  Resources for



  About us


  Contact Us


  Sabrang Team














On May 28, 2005 at 8:30 p. m. an Indian national, Chittirical John Thomas (Passport # A9757690), was pulled from work in Riyadh by Saudi Muttawa authorities, dragged to his
home, and beaten in front of his maid and 5 year-old son. The Muttawa
gathered his Bible and all religious paraphernalia, and took 37 year-old
Thomas to the Shemaissy Detention Center. Thomas's wife, who is 5
months pregnant, has not heard from her husband since. In addition to John
Thomas, seven other Indian nationals, who were arrested in similar
fashion, have been detained for their faith as Christians while they were
asleep on Saturday night.

Valiakalail Samuel Daniel (Passport # Z1101522), Koil Pillai Vijaykumar
(Passport # E3188388), Mutham Plackal Mathai Thomas
(Passport # A2584732), Pathivadathil James George (Passport # U321808),
George Matthew, Biju Thomas, and Saji Varghese are the confirmed names
of the others arrested.

The Muttawa visited Koil Pillai Vijaykumar in the middle of the night
and interrogated until 3 a. m., along with his wife. ICC also believes
that least one of the prisoners has been abused while imprisoned, and
was forced to continuously stand and was beaten with his hands bound
behind his back. It is widely believed that these arrests are the result of
Samkutty Varghese's detention outside of his bible study on January 24,
2005. Varghese (Passport # E8421022) possessed the names and numbers of
other Christians attending the same Assembly of God fellowship group.

As member to the United Nations, Saudi Arabia pledged, ''to achieve, in
co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal
respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms''.

The arrest of these Indian nationals is a violation of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and we appeal to civil society to voice their
concerns before the appropriate authorities with great urgency. It is
requested that the below mentioned persons be contacted at the earliest.

1. King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz

King and Prime Minister

The Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines

His Majesty King Fahd bin 'Abdul 'Aziz Al-Saud

Office of H. M. The King

Royal Court, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Telegram: King Fahd, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Salutation: Your Majesty

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 00-966-1-488-2222

2. Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National


His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdullah bin 'Abdul 'Aziz Al-Saud

Royal Court, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Telegram: Crown Prince 'Abdullah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Tel: 00-966-1-491-5400

Salutation: Your Royal Highness

3. Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

2, Paschimi Marg

Vasant Vihar

New Delhi-110057

Telphone: +91-11-2614 4102, 2614 4073, 2614 4083

Fax: +91-11- 2614 4244, 2614

4. Embassy of India, Riyadh

Ambassador Mr. M. O. H. Farook

B-1 Diplomatic Quarter

Riyadh - 11693, Saudi Arabia

Tel: 00-966-1-488 4144 / 488 4691 / 488 4692

Fax: 00-966-1-488 4750


[email protected]

5. Minister of Justice

His Excellency Dr. 'Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh

Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice

University Street, Riyadh 11137

Saudi Arabia

Fax:+966 1 401 1741

Telegram: Minister of Justice, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Salutation: Your Excellency

6. Ministry of the Interior

H. R. H. Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud

PO Box 2933, Riyadh 11134

Tel : 00-966-1-401-1944

Fax : 00-966-1-403-1185

Jeddah Office Tel: 00-966- 687-2322

FIACONA Press Release: Saudi arrests of Indian Christians

June 5, 2005
The Federation of Indian American Christians of North America (FIACONA)
1604 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, Delaware-19805 USA [email protected]

The Federation of Indian American Christians of North America
(FIACONA) asks the US Government to intervene in the unjustified
of Indian Christians in Saudi Arabia

New York, The Federation of Indian American Christians of North America
(FIACONA) has expressed deep shock and anguish at the brutal arrests
jailing of peaceful, law abiding Indian Christians in Riyadh. It has
made an urgent appeal to the US Government including the Department of
State, Congress and the White House to intervene with the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia for their release. Those arrested in the latest series of
crackdowns have been picked up from their homes, places of work and
public places. In this recent round of arrest, it is said that around
24 individuals have been detained in an unknown location. The
detainees had been
working within Saudi Arabia for number of years with valid passports,
visas, and work permits.

Typical of the arrests was that of Mr. N Daniel Samuel who had been
residing and working in Saudi Arabia for 22 years. He was taken from
residence in Riyadh on Saturday May 28, 2005 while his personal
was rampaged in the course of a search during which his wife and
15-year-old son were locked up in one room.

In a parallel case Mr. James George was arrested at home with his small
children leaving them alone while his wife was away at work at a local
hospital. Rev. Samkutty Varghese was on a visit to Saudi Arabia and was
arrested on March 22, 2005, at 7:30 pm while waiting to board a public
transport bus. Mr. Varghese' crime was apparently that he continued
a cell phone call to a friend at a time that the evening call to prayer
had begun. He was found in possession of a Hindi Bible and by using his
personal dairy a number of other Christians have been arrested. It is
reported that Mr.Varghese has been sentenced to 10 months in jail and
periodic lashings.
Numerous other similar stories could be told of violent attacks by the
Saudi Government on peaceable, hard working people whose only fault is
that they are Christians who may have been practicing their faith in
privacy of their own homes.

On April 23, 2005, the Muttawa arrested 40 Pakistani nationals for
celebrating Catholic Mass in a private house.

While Saudi Arabia has traditionally followed a repressive policy in
respect to permitting freedom of religion (other than Islam) the most
recent arrests of dozens of Christians have been carried out with a
shocking brutality. The United States continues to maintain strong
economic ties with the Saudi regime. However the US Commission on
International Religious Freedom has designated Saudi Arabia as a
of "particular concern". The Indian American Federation has appealed to
the political leadership in the US to exercise its moral authority more
strongly against these egregious violations of human rights and
religious freedom within a country that is its strategic partner. A
strong appeal at the appropriate level of the US Government against
these latest arrests will have a profound impact on the brazen attitude
of the Saudi Government.

FIACONA has already contacted US Government officials and members of
Congress and urged them to intervene. The Federation also plans to use
all media outlets and have human rights organizations to act quickly on
behalf of the detainees. FIACONA reminds the global community to recall
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which clearly
states that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience
religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief,
and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or
private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice,
worship and observance". The Universal Declaration of Human rights was
adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Saudi Arabia
abstained from the vote but has been pressured since then to adopt
rights into the Kingdom. In recent months the Kingdom has tried to
coat its human rights practices to gain acceptance into the WTO. Rev.
Bernard Malik the President of FiACONA said " Saudi government should
immediately release the arrested Christians as an expression of the
practice of higher ideals of Islam."

FIACONA calls upon NGOs and local churches all around the nation to
exercise their collective influence for the immediate release of
Christians in Saudi Arabia. If you are interested in joining our
please contact us at the address below. Together we shall make a
difference and stop this tragic violation of human rights in one of the
richest countries in the world.

For additional info contact:
Rev. Bernard Malik, President
Federation of Indian American Christians of North America (FIACONA)