SAUDI ARABIA – Drinking alcohol is one of the reasons why around 20 Filipinos are detained at the Al-Hassa city jail, according to a Filipino Islamic Center lecturer.
"Napansin po namin na nangungunang pinakaraming bilang na nakakulong na Pilipino sa mga kalalakihan po ay ang tinatawag natin na kaso ng alak. Yung mga gumagawa ng alak, nagbebenta ng alak, at umiinom ng alak," said Mohammad Gary.
Gary added that from around 20 detained Filipinos in Al-Hassa city jail, 15 have cases related to alcohol, which is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia.
"Huwag po nating kalimutan na isa din po ito naging dahilan, kung saan ang pinakarumal-dumal na krimen na naganap dito sa Al-hassa limang taon na ang nakararaan. May isang kababayan tayo na pinatay, sinaksak at sinunog, dahil sa alak din, dahil lasing yung gumawa," said Gary.
Although Gary did not reveal the names of those still detained at the city jail, he said the embassy is already aware of their cases.
Gary also hopes that the embassy will also focus on other cases of Filipinos detained at the city jail like those charged with robbery and immorality.
He said many Filipinos tend to forget the local customs in Saudi Arabia as men and women still continue mingle during ocassions.
There are also those who live under the same roof but are not married.
In fact, Gary said a Filipina was sent to jail because she got pregnant by a man who was not her husband.
"Nakakalungkot isipin, nakakulong dahil sa tinatawag nating imoralidad. Sila po ay nahatulan ng pinakababa ditong hatol na 9 months hanggang isang taon. Yung iba ay isang taon at 100 palo na maximum na palo po nila," he said.
He urged kababayans to instead use their free time to pray, exercise or go into sports to kick the bad habit. Report from Dinan Arana, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau