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Indian activists outraged as Saudi diplomat accused of raping Nepali maids flees

NEW DELHI: The departure of a Saudi diplomat accused of repeatedly raping and torturing two Nepali maids in his home outside Delhi sparked outrage in India on Thursday with activists calling on the United Nations to pressure Riyadh to take up the matter.

Citing the diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, India’s foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup confirmed in a statement late on Wednesday that Majed Hassan Ashoor, the first secretary at the Saudi embassy, had left India.

“We realize that the laws and conventions are such that there is little India could have done to prevent him from leaving,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.

“The focus and pressure has to be on the Saudis to take it up and ensure the victims get justice. You can’t have allegations of a rape racket in your bedroom and think you can get away with it without any investigation.”

The international community, including the United Nations and influential countries like the United States, should put pressure on the Saudis to pursue the matter, added Krishnan.

Indian police last week rescued the two women, aged 30 and 50, from Ashoor’s luxury apartment after a tip-off from an anti-human trafficking group and the Nepali embassy.

The women told police they were gang raped, assaulted, tortured and starved while held captive for over three months. The women said they were raped by eight men on one occasion. Medical examinations showed evidence of rape and sodomy.

The women came from remote rural parts of Nepal and were sent to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants by human traffickers before returning to New Delhi with their employer.

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