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How can the Saudi diplomat who raped women in India claim diplomatic immunity

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Sad state of affairs...What sort of law is this...how can we allow the diplomat to leave the country without facing trial...Have we forgotten the Indrani Khobrakade who was arrested and strip searched in USA...Will Saudi Arabia pardon any misdemeanor on part of Indian diplomats in Riyadh?

‘Sometimes, 7-8 men raped us in one day…we thought we were going to die,’ says woman rescued from Saudi diplomat’s home

“Last four months were a curse for us. It was so ugly…we thought we were going to die in that house and our families would never even find our bodies,” said the 20-year-old woman from Nepal, who had been sexually abused for months.

The woman and her 44-year-old mother were rescued from the Gurgaon residence of a diplomat from Saudi Arabia on Monday night. Hired as domestic help, they were allegedly held hostage at the house and sexually abused every day for the last four months by the diplomat and his ‘guests’.

“There were days when seven to eight men — all from Saudi Arabia — would assault us. If we resisted, the diplomat and his family would threaten to kill us and dispose of our bodies in the sewer,” said the older woman. She claimed that on one occasion, the diplomat had even slashed her on the arm with a knife.

On some days, they would be given no food at all, she said. But they were allowed to bathe, right before they had to meet the diplomat’s ‘guests’, who would rape and sodomise them, said the women.

The diplomat’s wife made no attempt to help them; instead, she beat them up, alleged the women. “We were made to do all the household chores, from morning till late in the night, and then subjected to sexual assault at the end of the day. We were not given food. Sometimes we only survived on biscuits, bread and watery tea. We were never allowed to step out of the house,” said the women.

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India Curtailed By Saudi Diplomat's Immunity.

India Curtailed By Saudi Diplomat's Immunity.


NEW DELHI -- It seems bizarre that the Indian government is helpless to prosecute the diplomat from Saudi Arabia, who allegedly enslaved and sexually abused two women from Nepal at his home in Gurgaon. While the Ministry of External Affairs is under pressure to act, the diplomat has sought sanctuary at the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Delhi, which is deemed Saudi territory where Indian law and its agents can't act.

That is how things stand unless the government of Saudi Arabia decides to waive the immunity extended to its diplomat under the Vienna Convention On Diplomatic Relations.

The Vienna Convention, an international treaty, offers blanket immunity to the embassy staff in a receiving state. Under the Convention, this Saudi diplomat, who allegedly allowed his friends to rape the two Nepalese women,

is a "diplomatic agent," who is not subject to India's criminal and civil jurisdiction. His family and private residence cannot be touched by the host government either.

"The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention," says Article 21 of the Convention.

READ: Rescued Nepalese Women Narrate Horrific Story Of Torture And Rape

While women group's justifiably protest outside the embassy of Saudi Arabia in the national capital, former diplomats told HuffPost India that India government's hands are tied by international norms and New Delhi cannot proceed beyond a point on the legal front. The only recourse left to the government is to persuade the Saudi Arabia government to waive its diplomat's immunity given the seriousness of the alleged crime or get them to prosecute their own national.

The Vienna Convention explains that blanket immunity is "is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions as representing States."

"The fact of the matter is that diplomatic immunity is widely accepted," G. Parthasarathy, India's former High Commissioner to Pakistan, told HuffPost India on Thursday.

On Thursday, the External Affairs Ministry requested Saudi Arabian Embassy to cooperate in connection with the Saudi diplomat's case, PTI reported.

To make a strong case, Parthasarathy explained that the Indian government will need to present evidence to Saudi Arabia, and if Saudi Arabia does not agree then it can make a decision to expel its diplomat. "This is not just from one country to another. It is from two--India and Nepal," he said. "If they don't, then they will be shamed internationally."

The Saudi diplomat has been booked under several Indian Penal Code sections including 376 D (gangrape), 376 (rape), 377 and (unnatural offence).

But countries rarely leave their diplomats to be prosecuted in a foreign country. In 2004, the British police accused the then Saudi ambassador to Britain, Prince Turki al-Faisal, of blocking an investigation into claims that a diplomat molested an 11-year-old girl. The Saudis refused to waive the diplomat's immunity, saying embassy staff were conducting an internal enquiry.

In 2013, India threw its muscle behind Devyani Khobragade, a consular official, who was arrested by the United States government for allegedly submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her female housekeeper, and paying her less than minimum wages in the U.S.

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, makes an exception on immunity for "consular officers" in cases of "grave crime grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority."

Relations between the two nations soured considerably after Khobragade was arrested and strip-searched in New York. Following hard negotiations, Khobragade was granted diplomatic immunity from visa fraud charges, and allowed to return to India, but not before an American official of similar rank was expelled from India.

Khobragade did not enjoy diplomatic immunity in the US, just like the French consular officer in Bangalore who was accused by his wife of sexually assaulting their daughter. The French national is being tried in India.

So far, the chances of Saudi Arabia "cooperation" seems slim. Its embassy has already protested against the raid of its diplomat, and refuted the allegations against him.

READ: Saudi Embassy Says Charges Against Diplomat Accused Of Keeping Sex-Slaves 'Completely False'

Handling this case requires the Indian government to tactfully balance its relations with Nepal and Saudi Arabia. Former diplomat Arundhati Ghose, who headed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, said that the Modi government needed to take this case seriously, but handle it without damaging relations Saudi Arabia, an oil partner, which has the highest number of Indians living outside the country.

"If we value our international relations with Nepal then the Indian government will have to act, but without damaging relations with Saudi Arabia," she said. "You cannot condemn an entire nation because of what one man does. Frankly to me, it is more important that we maintain our extremely good relations with Saudi Arabia than seeing this man being tried here, which he cannot."

Given the heightened sensitivity towards crimes against women in India, and the this case involving its neighbour, the government is in a tight spot. But diplomats say that it isn't likely to go out of its way to shame Saudi Arabia, especially since Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the country later this year, and India's treatment of other nations has never been brash.

But shaming, Parthasarthy pointed out, can always been done tactfully. "Get the opposition to demand a resolution in parliament," he said.


But this is standard diplomatic convention, however unfair it may seem. The reason this is done is that diplomats are protected against possibly trumped-up charges in the guest country. This is the age old idea of not harming the messenger.

Most likely in this case the Saudi diplomat is guilty, but he is allowed to use his diplomatic immunity status. Otherwise an Indian diplomat may be framed in Saudi Arabia. Of course if Saudi Arabia was a really civilized nation they would have waived the right to immunity. But it is hard to expect that since India itself did not do that in the Devayani K case.
India just cannot displease Saudi because all our nouveau riche and other real "riche" depend on Saudi oil! GOI should have seen to it that this affair was hushed up at the very start itself.
If the diplomat is a relative of the current monarch there-belonging to the Al Saud family, we can never expect Saudi Arabia to waive the diplomatic immunity. The most that the Indian Government can wangle for is a promise that the diplomat will be tried in S.Arabia and an unwritten understanding that the debt will be paid back in future when an Indian diplomat gets into a similar soup at some future date. This is the practical solution to the problem. Also Saudis can be made to pay a substantial monetary compensation to the concerned Nepali victims of the sordid drama.


There is a silence now which is deafening...The victims have gone back to Nepal..Police are not allowed entry inside the house where the crime took place..The rest of the accomplices of the diplomat would have destroyed the evidence and would have fled India...There can be no justice delivered in this case
... Saudis can be made to pay a substantial monetary compensation to the concerned Nepali victims of the sordid drama.

This is probably the only practical and feasible remedy under the circumstances... but whether it would reach the victims is another issue, of course !
Saudi Arabia diplomat case

Saudi Arabia diplomat case

We don’t need much ingenuity to figure out the sensitivity of the case involving the Saudi Arabian diplomat living in Gurgaon. The alleged rapist represents a superpower in the Muslim world, while the woman who was gang raped for months in horrific circumstances in his apartment comes from one of the poorest countries on the planet.
The bestiality couldn’t have been sharper.

Also, the hapless victim comes from a rare country – a Hindu Rashtra. India has a government, which is sworn to look after all the dispossessed Hindus anywhere on the planet – from Fiji to Mauritius to Surinam.

But then, the superpower combines temporal and spiritual wealth in such staggering proportions that not even the rich countries in the western world would have the courage to trifle with it. It is so used to unilaterally laying down the law rather than respecting others’ canons.

Getting real

People say India’s economy can suffer in ways more than one if the superpower’s vanity is offended. That’s sheer baloney. India’s relations with Saudi Arabia are mutually beneficial. Make no mistake about it.

On the other hand, if the government cannot defend the interests of a single defenceless Hindu woman against such cruel assaults of unspeakable brutality – in the face of irrefutable medical evidence and police reports – what is this Sangh Parivar business all about? People are bound to ask.

Meanwhile, with the civil society having taken up the case, pushing it under the carpet is increasingly becoming a non-option. Above all, of course, Bihar borders Nepal and everything about Bihar is supersensitive – through the next 4-5 week period, at least.

Unsurprisingly, the ministry of external affairs has been tiptoeing around the problem. There is no clear political directive given to the bureaucrats. How do you negotiate unless your objectives are clearly defined by the political masters and are quantifiable?

A high stakes game

Enter National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. It comes as no surprise that Doval is rolling up his sleeves to jump into the fray. Clearly, it can only mean that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been monitoring the developments reaching him from Doval’s office and isn’t pleased with the way the issue has been handled so far by the concerned authorities.

This now becomes a high stakes game. How Doval manages to produce a "win-win" out of the tangle will be interesting to watch.

In principle, there is nothing wrong in the NSA diving into a cesspool. Doval’s predecessors might have point-blank refused to do it but his DNA is apparently different.

The NSAs the world over deal with national security issues. One cannot imagine Nikolai Patrushev or Susan Rice handling the downstream of a gang-rape incident. They have a job cut out for them. It is a crucial job with high intellectual content dealing with issues of high importance to foreign and security policies.

But Doval is different. He is a man of action. The world of intellect makes him feel restless, and he is in his element while on the beat. Perhaps, India could have two NSAs – one with brain and another with brawn.

Be that as it may, Doval is the ideal man to handle this tricky mission – Prime Minister trusts him; the Sangh Parivar sees him as one of them. However, the troubling part is what it is that Doval can achieve which the experienced South Block bureaucrats cannot? I am getting impatient to see the denouement.

What next?

It is improbable that Saudi Arabia will allow one of its diplomats to be locked up in an Indian jail and tried as a despicable criminal. You can do that to Italy by luring two of their unsuspecting marines to come ashore and then summarily lock them up. But you dare not try to ambush a Saudi Arabian diplomat. Italy is far too civilised a country not to stoop low to retaliate, but you bet Riyadh will.

At any rate, the Saudis must be puzzled how a woman’s welfare should matter so much. Didn’t god create woman as plaything for man, after all? The best thing Doval can do is, perhaps, to arrange something like "blood money" and close the file – compensation for the devastated woman, provided of course she is agreeable to such a deal.

The Saudis will be at home with such a deal. They have always believed that there is nothing on earth that money can’t buy – especially in a country like India.

But then, Doval will be lowering the prestige of his high office if he is seen as acting even remotely like an agent for the alleged rapist. The Prime Minister also will have a problem to explain, if people were to ask him whether this is all that this government can do to protect a hapless woman from a Hindu country.

At the end of the day, the question that lingers in the mind is something else. Isn’t there something appalling in our system where things get centralised to this bizarre extent? A smart ruler delegates authority. An insecure ruler aggrandises power. But over-centralisation demoralises the system and makes it more inefficient than its already might be.

No doubt, Doval’s appearance in this case will be perceived as a censure of the MEA’s (mis)handling of it so far. If so, the onus is on Doval to produce a splendid outcome that would have been beyond the professional competence of the South Block bureaucracy. The outcome will be keenly watched.

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