The 24-year-old Kerala woman, who recently claimed to have managed to escape from Saudi Arabia after her husband tried to sell her off as a concubine to Islamic State fighters in Syria, was locked up in an apartment in Jeddah for over 80 days, police said on Friday.
Police also said that the woman’s husband had taken her to Saudi Arabia after threatening her of releasing nude videos of her to the public. Earlier, the woman had alleged that she was blackmailed into conversion by the husband.
Ernakulam (rural) SP AV George said the woman was shown visuals of captives being decapitated by IS militants while she was kept engaged in data entry work in an apartment in Jeddah.
“Gruesome videos, including that of non-believers being stoned to death, were shown to her to instill hate towards other communities. The aim was to develop an affinity towards the activities of the terrorists. However, she refused to get brainwashed,” said the rural SP.
Investigating officer DSP KB Prabhulla Chandran said that the woman was not taken to the Saudi Arabian border but was restricted to an apartment in Jeddah. “It is very difficult but possible to travel to Syria from Saudi as Jeddah is only a few hours away. But they never travelled to the border.
She grew suspicious of the fact that her husband was not taking any efforts to get her a permanent visa. She managed to contact her family after about 80 days just before her visiting visa expired,” said the DSP.
He said the woman sent her family pictures of the location where she was held captive. “By looking at those pictures her father’s friend identified the location to be Jeddah. They emailed her an air-ticket and reached the airport after her neighbours helped her to get a taxi,” he added.
North Paravur police had earlier registered a case under several sections of the Unlawful Activities of Prevention Act and the IPC related to extortion and rape.
TOI had on Thursday reported about 12 persons being booked in connection with the case, including Mohammed Riyas, the woman’s husband who is currently residing abroad. Two others who were arrested are Fayas, a relative of Riyas and his friend Siyad.
Riyas and the woman who was brought up in Gujarat had fallen in love while they were in Bengaluru and got married in 2017.
The woman had returned to Kerala to look after her parents but her husband filed a habeas corpus petition in the high court alleging that his wife was under the custody of her parents.
Meanwhile, police are collecting more details about the accomplices of the husband. He reportedly received assistance from various people in north Kerala and Karnataka, including from a woman in Bengaluru. A couple of lawyers from Kerala are also under the lens.
The police officer added that the woman had no genuine interests in Islam but went to Saudi Arabia under sheer duress. “She was raped and he threatened to make the videos public. A forged Aadhaar card was used and she was given a Muslim name,” he said.