Muscat: Five Omanis, who were detained in India after being accused of attempting to marry underage girls, are finally coming home.
The family members of the men detained in Hyderabad are overjoyed and are busy decorating homes and have said they will drive to Muscat Airport in their busloads to welcome the men home. The Omanis are expected to arrive in Muscat after being detained in India for more than a year.
“Being away from my family for a year and two months was very hard,” said Talib Al Salhi, one of the freed Omanis.
“I cannot express how much I miss my country.”
Hassan Al Qasmi, Habib Al Mahyahi, Talib Al Salhi, Juma Al Obaidani, and Nasser Al Salhi were arrested last September by police investigating underage marriages in Hyderabad.
The Omani men have maintained their innocence stating that they were “medical tourists”.
“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Munther Al Salhi, the son of one of the detainees, who was overjoyed at the news of his father’s return.
“When I heard that they would be coming, I was so happy, it was such a lovely surprise. I know my father will cry because he hasn’t been home in so long; I think I might also cry.”
Al Salhi will be driving for over an hour from wilayat Suwaiq to Muscat International Airport to receive his father. “I will be there two hours before he reaches; I will pay any parking fee, as long as I am there.”
In addition to Al Salhi’s family members, the families of Al Qasmi, Al Mahyahi, Al Obaidani, and Al Salhi are also expected to arrive in busloads.
“We have already planned a big celebration at home, we have sent messages to all our family members and neighbours to meet us. We are also preparing my father’s favourite meals,” added Al Salhi.
During the time the Omanis were detained in India, their trial dates were postponed more than 12 times before all charges were finally dropped. “The policeman admitted in court to falsely arresting us,” said Talib Al Salhi.
In June, a delegation from the Oman Human Rights Commission arrived in India, accompanied by the family members, to meet all five of the detained Omanis.
When Indian police officials first arrested the Omanis, they confiscated all their electronic devices and passports.
In October, the five men were acquitted after a decision by the Indian court. The reason for the delay in their return was to ensure there was no appeal.
In a statement online, Sheikh Hamed Al Rawahi, the Sultanate’s Ambassador to India, said: “The case has been adjudicated and the accused acquitted. The remaining procedures for the men to leave could take weeks, as we must make sure that there is no appeal in the case. Once that is done, their passports will be handed over to them and exit visas issued.”