By Philip MwakioAfter a blissful Islamic wedding ceremony at a Mombasa mosque in November 2011, the newly married couple got the most pleasant gift of all in the New Year — Amina Ahmed Said and husband Mohamed Abuuat left the country for greener pasture in Saudi Arabia.
Amina got a job as a househelp for a wealthy family, which also employed Abuuat. Working together promised to be a good thing for the new couple.
Amina and Abuuat were excited as they packed their bags for the exciting part of their lives in a foreign country.
They bade their friends and relatives farewell and set out for what they assumed then to be a bright future. Upon arrival in the Saudi residence, they called home and said they were happy working for a wealthy family. They had even been paid their first month’s salaries and sounded excited.
Unknown to them, their decision to make life in a foreign country was the beginning of a treacherous walk.
A few months after their arrival in the land many Kenyans associate with opportunity because of our joblessness back home, Amina was found to be pregnant. That is when hell broke loose.
Amina’s step-father Feisal Bahero says after the employer suspected that his daughter could be pregnant, the family started mistreating Amina and her husband.
One day, the mistress of the house summoned Amina while Abuuat was out doing errands and berated her for getting herself pregnant.
“My daughter tried to explain to the employer that she was legally married to Abuuat and had even informed them of their union prior to arrival but this fell on deaf ears. Instead, the woman called the police and told them that her two Kenyan employees were involved in an illicit affair and as a result of which, Amina was expecting a child,” Bahero told The Standard.
The police, took away Amina and Abuuat for interrogation.
Later, Amina underwent medical tests that confirmed her pregnancy.
She was locked up in what appears to be a holding camp away from the main police station.
Her husband was also confined at some rural setting.
Saudi laws impose imprisonment for women who get pregnant out of wedlock and, after giving birth, a penalty of lashes can be determined by courts before she is freed.
Fear for her life
But because of the hard life in prison, many expectant mothers end up miscarrying before the pregnacies reach full term.
It’s now more than three weeks since they were taken into custody. In one of Amina’s telephone conversations with her parents, she cried and said she feared for her life.
“We are shocked by the sudden turn of events. We are confused and uncertain about what is going on. Even the agent who recruited them has become arrogant and is refusing to offer any assistance,” Bahero said.
Mr Bahero who has been in touch with his son-in-law says the employer is now demanding Sh300,000 before they are released from custody.
But with irregular communication, the family is not sure how to rescue their children who are obviously in a deep crisis.
Last month, more than 100 distressed Kenyan women were stuck in a container at Kenya’s embassy in Saudi Arabia as they waited to be brought back home after disagreeing with their employers.