09/17/2015, 00.00
INDIA - SAUDI ARABIA
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Riyadh repatriates diplomat suspected of raping two Nepalese women

Saudi authorities prevent that the official from being put on trial in India. The victims are two Nepalese women duped and imprisoned in the Saudi diplomat’s apartment and forced to suffer all kinds of violence. New Delhi had sought collaboration. "His repatriation solves India’s embarrassment”.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Saudi diplomat accused of forcibly imprisoning two Nepalese women domestic workers and subjecting them to sexual abuse for months in his private,  has used his diplomatic immunity to flee India.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup, made the announcement last night, just days after having convoked the Saudi ambassador to resolve the issue and issuing a request to authorities in Riyadh to "hand over" the alleged rapist to police.

His flight would seem to have ended the delicate case involving two women of Nepalese origin (see photo), Juna Damai and the Gita Tamang (30 and 50), saved last week by a police raid in Gurgaon [Indian state of Haryana, about 30 kilometers from New Delhi - ed], following a complaint lodged by Maiti India association. Thanks to this women’s rights group, the police broke into the residence of the Saudi diplomat and rescued the victims, tried by months of abuse and violence.

The women, who returned to Nepal last week, said they had been lured by the diplomat with an advantageous job offer and had decided to leave the country of origin in search of a livelihood following the earthquake on 25 April that caused almost 9 thousand victims.

Instead on arrival in Gurgaon they were locked up in the diplomat’s apartment and exploited for sexual pleasures of the man and his friends. To sap their strength, their torturers starved them for days and threatened them with death.

The story has triggered anger among the population, which has also protested outside the Saudi ambassador’s residence demanding the diplomats arrest. However, the official enjoys the international protection established by the Vienna Convention of 1961, which protects diplomats working in foreign countries. Riyadh could have granted an interrogation, but eventually decided to bring it back home, avoiding the process in India.

Analysts believe that the return has solved the embarrassment for the government of New Delhi, which has good relations with Kathmandu but also important economic ties with Saudi Arabia, where about 3 million Indians live and work.

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