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Odisha youth languishing in Iraqi jail to be brought back soon

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Kendrapada, July 23:

A youth from Kendrapada district in Odisha is languishing in an Iraqi jail even after serving his six-month jail term for overstaying in the trouble-torn country.

Sraban Sahoo, the youth from Manapada village in Rajnagar block of Kendrapada district, was arrested by Iraqi authorities in January this year for staying in the country after the expiry of his visa period.

He was sentenced to six months in prison under Iraqi immigration laws and sent to the Halla jail, about 100 km from the capital city of Baghdad.

Sahoo, a plumber by profession, had left for Iraq in September last year to work in a construction company there. While his contract was for two years, the Mumbai based placement agency, which had hired his services, had sent him on a three-month tourist visa instead of a work visa.

Unaware of the intricacies of immigration laws and visa restrictions, Sahoo fell foul of the law in the oil rich country.

Sraban’s family came to know about his plight after another fellow plumber from the area returned from Iraq. On Monday, Sraban’s mother and sister met the Kendrapada collector Pramod Kumar Dash and urged him to take measures to get him back.

The collector said the concerned authorities had been moved and efforts are underway to bring Sraban back.

“After Kendrapada MP Baijayanta Panda moved the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), we have been informed by the Indian embassy in Iraq that Sraban would be repatriated to India soon after completion of necessary legal formalities,” the collector said.