For Kerala nurse Nimisha Priya, on a death row in Yemen for killing a Yemeni national, a flicker of hope has emerged with the deceased’s family agreeing to talk about her future.
‘Save Nimisha forum’ working for her release, got retired Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph to act as interlocutor to see how her life can be saved.
Joseph, along with a team of highly respected former and serving diplomatic officials, managed to establish a contact with authorities in Yemen.
According to a source in the know of things, talks have begun with the family members of the deceased and the month of Ramzan has also come as an added impetus.
The only possibility of any reprieve for Priya is if the family of Talal Mahdi pardons her for blood money — compensation paid by an offender or his kin to the family of the victim — in accordance with the Sharia law and diplomatic intervention, as per Yemeni rules.
According to rough estimates, a sum equivalent to Rs 1.50 crore might have to be paid in Yemeni currency and perhaps it could be even more as it includes fine and other charges.
Meanwhile, a team led by Joseph, including Priya’s mother and her young daughter, are awaiting diplomatic clearance to travel to Yemen to have a direct dialogue with Mahdi’s family.
Last month, a Yemeni court dismissed Priya’s appeal in the murder case of Talal Mahdi, in which she, along with another person, are the prime accused.
The two have been sentenced to death for the murder of Mahdi in 2017.
Hailing from Palakkad, Priya, a nurse by profession, reached Yemen in 2012 with her husband. In 2015, with the help of Talal Mahdi, she set up a clinic. By this time her husband and their child had returned home.
Soon, differences cropped up between her and Mahdi and she accused him of torturing her and taking away her passport, making her trip back to her home state impossible.
On July 25, 2017, she injected Talal with sedatives to take back her passport and flee.
But the man collapsed after being administered the sedative.
Realising that Mahdi has died, the nurse with another person’s help, disposed of his body, which was cut into pieces in a water tank.
Four days later, the crime surfaced and both were arrested and while she was sentenced to death, the other person was sentenced to life.
The incident come to light only when a Kerala gospel worker reached a jail in Yemen to preach. Priya handed over a letter to him describing the entire incident.