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28 February 2024

Dad's volte-face: Never 'intended' to sell son

By Staff

A Saudi father who was reported last week to have put his son up for sale in Facebook for $20 million has denied he intended really to sell the six-year-old boy, saying he had done so only to draw attention to his ordeal.

Saud bin Nasser Al Shahry said he made the announcement online after he was stricken by poverty and all doors were shut in his face.

But Shahry was strongly attacked by a prominent Islamic scholar in the conservative Gulf Kingdom on the grounds he violated Islam by offering to sell his child despite his financial problems.

“Of course I never intended to sell my son…I only made this announcement to attract the attention of decision-makers in the country to my tragedy after I became jobless and started to beg for food and clothes,” he said.

“I have knocked at all doors but none opened for me… I have been to many officials and people but none would listen to me.”

Shahry blamed government regulations for his dilemma, which followed a decision by authorities to shut his legal office in the Kingdom. He said the closure had led to his bankruptcy and accumulation of debt.

“All I wanted from that advertisement about my son is to ensure my voice will reach King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz…the Monarch and the other rulers do not spare any effort to eliminate poverty and unemployment in the country but some procedures and regulations are going in the opposite direction.”

Quoted by Saudi newspapers last week, Shahry said he had approached the Labour Ministry for the unemployment monthly allowance endorsed by King Abdullah last year for all jobless Saudis. But he said that he was refused aid because he was above 35 years - the age limit of receiving ministry help.

Therefore, he decided to sell his child to offer "a decent life to his mother and sister rather than living in poverty", the report added.

He said that his only condition for the sale of his son is to know the city where the buyer resides, adding that he is willing to go to court to complete the deal.

“What this man has done is prohibited in Islam,” said Sheikh Mohammed Al Nujaimi, a prominent Islamic scholar in the Kingdom.

“Whatever the case, he should not have offered to sell his son…this man has resorted to an illegal way to draw the attention of decision-makers to his ordeal…what he has done has hurt the entire society…means does not justify the end in this case. How does he want to attract attention by selling his son.”