India: Unnao rape survivor dies day after being set ablaze, kin were threatened by accused

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Unnao rape survivor dies day after being set ablaze, kin were threatened by accused

The woman was airlifted to the Capital and admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital as she suffered 90% burns after Thursday’s assault. The five men who assaulted the rape survivor included Shivam Trivedi and Shubham Trivedi, the two accused in the gang rape case

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2019 09:00 IST

HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents

Hindustan Times, Kanpur / New Delhi
Protests against rape-murders in the country in New Delhi,  on Friday, December 06, 2019.
Protests against rape-murders in the country in New Delhi, on Friday, December 06, 2019. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

A 24-year-old rape victim, who was assaulted and set on fire by five men in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, died on Friday night, according to a doctor at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, where she was undergoing treatment. “She suffered a cardiac arrest at 11:10 pm…we tried to resuscitate her, but she did not survive,” according to a doctor of the hospital.

Officials at the hospital said doctors tried to resuscitate her for about 30 minutes, but she died at 11:40pm.

The woman was airlifted to the Capital and admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital as she suffered 90% burns after Thursday’s assault. The five men who assaulted the rape survivor included Shivam Trivedi and Shubham Trivedi, the two accused in the gang rape case.

In her statement, the woman said the two men, accompanied by Hari Shankar Trivedi, Umesh Bajpai, and Ram Kishore Trivedi, accosted her at Gaura crossing, pressured her to withdraw the case, and then, when she declined, set her ablaze. The five men were remanded to 14-day judicial custody by a court on Friday.

The Lucknow Divisional Commissioner has constituted a five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the assault on the woman.

“I visited the spot in Unnao on Thursday evening and constituted a five-member SIT led by Unnao ASP Vinod Pandey. The team will probe all aspects of the case and submit a report to me,” divisional commissioner Mukesh Meshram told news agency PTI.

Earlier in the day, when HT visited the woman’s village, it was shrouded in an eerie silence, with her father demanding exemplary punishment against the accused. “I will find solace only when the Unnao police shoot all the five who burnt my daughter,” said the father, who is a blacksmith by profession.

The 65-year-old man said his family was being constantly threatened by the accused and their associates but the police failed to take any action despite being informed about the threats.

“They were regularly threatening us; they are big people. No one in the village can afford to go against them. Instead, people always conveyed their threats and messages,” he said.

An uncle of the woman said he has been threatened with “dire consequences” by relatives of the accused. “Your shop will be set on fire and will not let you live,” the victim’s uncle described the caller as saying. “I am going to inform the police and demand action in this regard,” he said.

The Uttar Pradesh Police has deployed a team, including one sub-inspector and two constables, at the victim’s residence. “A police team has been deployed at her (victim’s) residence permanently as a precautionary measure. We will take the case to its logical end,” Praveen Kumar, IG, law and order, said.

(With inputs Haider Naqvi in Kanpur and agencies)

India: chemical castration to lynching, Parliament debates steps to curb rapes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

From chemical castration to lynching, Parliament debates steps to curb rapes

As Rajya Sabha met for the day and the zero hour was about to commence, a demand was raised that a discussion on safety of women in the country be taken up.

INDIA Updated: Dec 02, 2019 21:24 IST

HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Opposition members protest in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi
Opposition members protest in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi(PTI)

Perpetrators of heinous crimes against women should be castrated, surgically or chemically, or they should be executed publicly like in some other countries or hanged within weeks of the incidents – these were some of the opinions voiced in the Parliament’s House of elders on Monday as MPs across party lines indicated patience was running short in the aftermath of the gory Hyderabad rape and murder case.

As Rajya Sabha met for the day and the zero hour was about to commence, a demand was raised that a discussion on safety of women in the country be taken up. AAP member Sanjay Singh and some other members had given a notice for a discussion on the issue.

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said it was an important issue and sought the opinion of the leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad who promptly agreed.

Naidu set the tone of the discussion himself pointing out that the disgraceful and disturbing incident in Hyderabad was the latest such happening as the malaise was not confined to the city alone. He sought positive suggestions to improve the situation but the anger underlying the speeches was palpable.

Azad initiated the discussion and said that the malaise could not be tackled through legislation alone and an atmosphere had to be generated in the country’s institutions including those imparting education. A wide-ranging movement which goes above partly or religious lines is the need, the Congress leader asserted.

Speaking immediately after Santanu Sen of the TMC said fast track courts were needed and exemplary punishment given to the culprits. This punishments should be widely publicized for deterrence, he said.

Another member K Ravindra Kumar pointed out that often there was delay by the police in registering cases of crimes against women citing jurisdiction issues. This was happening despite Supreme Court directions, he rued. The Andhra Pradesh MP said the brutal rape and murder in Hyderabad was reminiscent of the episode in Delhi in 2012 which had shaken the nation.

Some of the strongest words came from DMK’s P Wilson. The courts should be empowered to order surgical or chemical castration for offences like rape and murder before such people are released from prisons into the community, the Tamil Nadu MP said.

Such legislation’s have been adopted in countries like Korea and states of the USA like California, the MP said. Surgical and chemical castration will reduce sexual performance, sexual interest and sexual re-offending, he added. Even the cost of such procedure should be recovered from the culprits including by attaching his assets, he added.

Wilson said a list of such offenders should be made public.

“It is time we act to save India’s daughters,” he asserted.

Similar were the feeling of SP member and actor Jaya Bachhan who said there were countless instances of similar crimes happening across the country.

“My suggestion is a bit harsh, but I think these people should be brought out in public and lynched,” the MP, who has often spoken on the issue in the past as well, averred.

Congress member T Subirami Reddy said those committing such crimes were not afraid of the law. Action should be taken within 15-20 days and no appeal allowed, he suggested.

Another Congress leader Amee Yajnik emphasized on the need to effect changes in the society’s mindset to make the environment safer for women.

Congress leader Mohammed Ali Khan said often cases linger on for years and justice takes long time. There are attempts to link such crimes with a religion which also has to be avoided, he added.

BJP leader R K Sinha said even in the Delhi gangrape and murder case the accused had not been awarded the final punishement given the system of appeals. A Nirbhaya fund was created and many states are not able to utilise it, he added.

BSP leader Veer Singh said often such crimes when perpetrated against women belonging to the weaker sections are not even highlighted. SAD leader Naresh Gujaral pointed out that while effective justice system was needed, the judiciary was functioning with upto 40 % vacancies.

Binoy Viswam joined the long list of enraged parliamentarians demanding capital punishment in case of such crimes even though he was opposed to this form of punishment. Women be it a girl of four years or a grandmother of 80, are not safe, he lamented.

Other MPs talked of need to check related crimes like illicit drug trade and pornography. Others wondered where cultural and moral value were as crimes continue to take place in various parts including Coimbatore, Kollachi to Kathua and Delhi.

BJP Member Ashwani Vaishnaw said the laws were archaic and probability of conviction low. Senior BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav said there was need to act collectively and bring change in a time-bound manner.

Some of the most telling comments were made by Chairman Naidu as he concluded the discussion.

“Merely making laws is not enough, we are seeing what is happening after conviction. There is a system of a series of appeals…Can anybody think of having mercy on such people? And why,” Naidu questioned.

Fast track courts are one thing, but what happens when the verdict has been given, he said.

The vice president also questioned leniency shown to juvenile offenders in case of gory sexual crimes.

“Those who can commit heinous crimes, what do they have to do with age?,” Naidu questioned.

In his characteristic style, Naidu said there was need for political will, administrative skill before the nation goes for the kill of this social evil.

We have Aadhaar cards and identity cards, such fellows should be identified and a social stigma attached to these crimes, he said giving vent to the larger painful concern.

India: Another Woman’s Charred Body Found In Same Area As Another Body 2 Days ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIME’S)

 

Two days after a woman veterinarian was raped and set ablaze by four men here, the charred body of another woman, who is yet to be identified,was found in the same locality on Friday.

The suspected killing of the unidentified woman was reported from the same area -Shamshabad- where the woman veterinarian was raped and killed by four workers on November 27.

Assistant Police Commissioner, Ashok Kumar Goud, said some passersby noticed the burnt body and informed them.

Police personnel were rushed to the spot who sent the body to a state-run hospital, he added.

It was not clear whether the woman committed suicide by setting herself ablaze or whether she was killed, he said.

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Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on 11 April 2019Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Assange was arrested in London after Ecuador abruptly withdrew its protection in April

Prosecutors in Sweden have dropped an investigation into a rape allegation made against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in 2010.

Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.

The 48-year-old Australian was evicted in April and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions.

He is currently being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

The Swedish investigation had been shelved in 2017 but was re-opened earlier this year following his eviction from the embassy.

In June, the then UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javed, formally approved an extradition request from the US where Assange is wanted on 18 counts related to the mass leak of American secrets.

What did the prosecutors say?

Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson took the decision to “discontinue the investigation regarding Julian Assange”, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said.

“The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question,” it added.

Media caption Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London

Ms Persson said: “I would like to emphasize that the injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events.

“Her statements have been coherent, extensive and detailed; however, my overall assessment is that the evidence situation has been weakened to such an extent that that there is no longer any reason to continue the investigation.”

The prosecutors said the decision had been taken after interviews with seven witnesses in the case.

What was the Swedish investigation about?

Assange was accused of rape by a woman and sexual assault by another one following a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010. He has always denied the allegations, saying the sex was consensual.

Media caption Who is Julian Assange?

He also faced investigations for molestation and unlawful coercion, but these cases were dropped in 2015 because time had run out.

India: Kerala Nun who protested against rape-accused former Bishop expelled

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Kerala nun who protested against rape-accused former bishop expelled

The nun said she was issued four show-cause notices and that she replied to all and appeared before the superior general in person. She added she will remain a nun till her last.

KERALA Updated: Aug 07, 2019 14:40 IST

Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Time, Thiruvananthapuram
Sister Kalapura said she will move the court after consulting fellow nuns and others.
Sister Kalapura said she will move the court after consulting fellow nuns and others. (HT image)

A Catholic nun in Kerala said on Wednesday she has been removed from her position by the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) after she supported an agitation to arrest Franco Mullakkal, a former Jalandhar-based bishop accused of rape.

Sister Lucy Kalapura said the decision to expel her was taken two months ago and she was forced to sign papers by FCC authorities on Wednesday. She said most of the charges raised against her were baseless and that she was asked to vacate the convent immediately.

Sister Kalapura said she will move the court after consulting fellow nuns and others.

“I was victimised for speaking the truth. I will continue my fight. Many nuns are suffering silently. They will come out in coming days,” the nun said.

Two months ago, she had appeared before the Mother General of FCC congregation in Aluva of Ernakulam district to explain her position on the show-cause notices issued to her. She had also sought police protection to go to the congregation headquarters, saying her life was in danger.

The nun said she was issued four show-cause notices and that she replied to all and appeared before the superior general in person. She added she will remain a nun till her last.

Sister Kalapura said her struggle was not against the church but against some people who supported injustice and corrupt practices. She has also expressed her desire to meet Pope Francis.

“Some of the charges against me are quite frivolous. One of them is that I bought a car without informing the church and another that I appeared in a normal dress in a function,” she said.

She said the main grouse against her was that she openly supported the agitation Mullakkal.

A 43-year-old nun had filed a police complaint in June 2018, alleging Mullakkal had raped her in 2014 and continued to sexually assault her two more years. Later, she also released a seven-page letter she wrote to the Vatican ambassador in India narrating how her plight was overlooked by church authorities in Kerala.

When police failed to arrest the bishop, five of her fellow nuns staged a sit-in protest in Kochi. Many like Kalapura had joined the sit-in protest.

Later, a special investigation team formed to probe the case arrested Mullakal in September last year after several rounds of questioning.

There were many attempts to intimidate and transfer the five nuns, who stood in support of the victim. The victim and five nuns are now confined to their convent in Kuravilangad in Kottayam. The trial against the deposed bishop started in Kottayam last month.

“Sister Lucy Kalapura was victimised for supporting us. It’s sad that church authorities are stifling saner voices,” Sister Anupama, also who led the stir against Mullakal, said.

First Published: Aug 07, 2019 14:04 IST

India: 36 calls from family for help to the police for protection, now they are dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Before car crash, Unnao rape survivor’s family sent 36 SOS messages in 15 months

Family members claim they approached the police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but were forced to finally write to the Chief Justice of India on July 12, demanding action ‘against people who were threatening the victim’s family.”

INDIA Updated: Aug 01, 2019 09:45 IST

Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar

Hindustan Times, Lucknow
On Sunday, the Unnao rape survivor , her family and lawyer were travelling in a car which was hit by an overspeeding truck in Raebareli, killing two members and leaving the survivor and the advocate critically injured.
On Sunday, the Unnao rape survivor , her family and lawyer were travelling in a car which was hit by an overspeeding truck in Raebareli, killing two members and leaving the survivor and the advocate critically injured. (PTI file photo)

Over the past year, family members of the 19-year-old rape survivor from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, wrote letters to top government officials, politicians and police officers seeking protection and help.

A majority of these missives — 36 since April 2018– were pleas for protection against four-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is accused of raping the teenager. But the family says that most of the letters elicited no response from any of the authorities addressed.

“No one helped us. Police turned down our requests to take action against the MLA’s henchmen who had been harassing and threatening us,” said the woman’s maternal uncle.

Family members claim they approached the police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but were forced to finally write to the Chief Justice of India on July 12, demanding action ‘against people who were threatening the victim’s family.”

Also read: What Unnao rape survivor has been through since June 2017

Watch | CJI to take up Unnao rape survivor’s letter on threats; CBI books accused MLA

CJI to take up Unnao rape survivor’s letter on threats; CBI books accused MLA
The Supreme Court took cognizance of a letter written by Unnao rape survivor alleging threat to her life. CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that he would take up the letter on Thursday.
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In August 2018, the family wrote to the CBI, which was probing the rape case, saying they were getting threats from Sengar’s associates. After receiving the letter, the CBI shifted Senger from Unnao jail to Sitapur jail.

In a letter to then principal secretary (home) of Uttar Pradesh Arvind Kumar on July 12 , the victim’s mother said the family was receiving threats from a man called as Manoj Singh, who is Sengar’s brother.

Also read: From village chief to MLA, Unnao rape accused Sengar’s clout grew quickly

“Manoj with one Kannu Singh and two other unidentified men drove down to my house and said that they have fixed the judge and arranged for release of Kuldeep Singh,” she wrote.

In another letter to the director general police (DGP) OP Singh on July 11, the mother claimed a threat by Haripal Singh, husband of Sashi Singh, one of the accused in the rape case. Sashi Singh is currently lodged in Unnao district jail.

Madhaw Prasad Verma, the Unnao superintendent of police, acknowledged that ”several” letters were written to the SP’s office by the family. “Most of the letter was about threat for which security was already provided to the victim. Officers here tell me that the security details of the victim were alerted on many occasions in response to these letters.”

Also read: Unnao rape survivor is critical but stable, continues to battle for life

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 23:51 IST

India: Unnao rape survivor’s ‘accident’: BJP MLA booked for murder

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Unnao rape survivor’s ‘accident’: BJP MLA booked for murder

The CBI is currently investigating the rape (the survivor was a minor at the time), and the murder of her father. The survivor and the aunt are also primary witnesses in the rape case.

INDIA Updated: Jul 29, 2019 23:41 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a four-time MLA who represents Bangarmau in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, was arrested in 2018 for allegedly raping the teenage girl at his residence in 2017. That case too was registered on a complaint by the survivor’s uncle, and the family battled for the one-year period in between.
Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a four-time MLA who represents Bangarmau in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, was arrested in 2018 for allegedly raping the teenage girl at his residence in 2017. That case too was registered on a complaint by the survivor’s uncle, and the family battled for the one-year period in between. (PTI)

A day after the Unnao rape survivor and her lawyer were critically injured and two others (aunts of the survivor) killed in a road accident in Rae Bareli, resulting in widespread outrage, the Uttar Pradesh police on Monday booked Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar (currently in jail; he is the main accused in the rape case), his brother and around two dozen others for murder, attempted murder and criminal conspiracy.

With many people dwelling on the convenient accident — the survivor’s father was murdered, allegedly by Sengar’s brother — the state police, which initially seemed to be leaning towards the theory that there was no foul play in the accident, said it would hand over this case too to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) if there was a demand to do so. Later on Monday, the police forwarded the family’s request for a CBI investigation into the accident to the state government, which will now write to the Centre.

The CBI is currently investigating the rape (the survivor was a minor at the time), and the murder of her father. The survivor and the aunt are also primary witnesses in the rape case.

Scrambling to contain the damage, the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government said it will bear all expenses for the treatment of the rape survivor and her lawyer, Mahendra Singh.

Both are on ventilator support at the trauma unit at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) hospital in Lucknow, doctors said.

“The woman was in shock, apart from the fracture in the leg and collar bone, besides head and chest injury. Hence we have shifted her to ventilator support. Her condition is critical but stable,” said Dr Samir Misra, senior faculty, trauma surgery, at KGMU.

The case of murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy against the MLA and the others was filed at the Gurbakshganj police station in Rae Bareli on the basis of a complaint by the rape survivor’s uncle who is in Rae Bareli jail in connection with a case filed under the Arms Act.

“MLA Kuldeep Sengar and his aides use to often threaten my family members to force them to withdraw the (rape) case against him. My wife and others were coming to meet me with papers related to the cases when their vehicle was hit by a truck, on the direction of the MLA,” reads the complaint lodged by the uncle.

On Monday, the mother of the victim too claimed Sengar was behind the accident. “This accident was a conspiracy by the BJP MLA to kill my daughter and family. I want CBI to probe the case,” she said. A person familiar with the matter said the mother had informed Unnao police on July 13 about threats from unidentified people.

“We have lodged an FIR under sections 302(murder), 307(attempt to murder), 506(criminal intimidation) and 120B(criminal conspiracy) of IPC against Sengar, his brother Mahesh Singh Sengar and others,” said superintendent of police(SP), Rae Bareli, Sunil Kumar Singh.

Beside the brother, police have booked Sengar’s aides Vinod Mishra, Haripal Singh, Naveen Singh, Komal Singh, Arun Singh, Gyanendra Singh, Rinku Singh and Avdhesh Singh along with “15-20 unidentified persons” in the matter.

The uncle sought parole to attend the funeral of his wife but Unnao district magistrate Devesh Pandey rejected the application on technical grounds.

Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a four-time MLA who represents Bangarmau in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, was arrested in 2018 for allegedly raping the teenage girl at his residence in 2017. That case too was registered on a complaint by the survivor’s uncle, and the family battled for the one-year period in between.

The woman had attempted to immolate herself outside the chief minister’s residence on April 8, 2018 to draw attention to the case. Her father died in police custody shortly after, following an assault by Sengar’s brother and a delay by police to take him to a hospital.

Director general of police (DGP), UP, OP Singh claimed “prima facie, it is a road accident” but added that an investigation is on and that the police are open to the CBI taking over. The driver of the truck was detained from the spot, while the owner was summoned to join investigations. Police are going through their mobile phone records to determine if they were in touch with a third person before the collision. Both are residents of Fatehpur.

Earlier, additional director general (ADG) of Lucknow Zone, Rajeev Krishna told reporters that the bodyguards assigned to the survivor were not with her because she “herself had asked the security personnel not to accompany her.”

The mother of the survivor said, “My daughter asked the police not to accompany her because there was no space in the car.”

The National Commission for Women took cognizance of the incident and wrote a letter to Uttar Pradesh Police requesting them to ensure a speedy investigation into the matter and take action deemed appropriate for the crime committed.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: “The accident of the rape victim is shocking. What is the status of the CBI probe? Why is the accused legislator still in the BJP? Can we expect justice from the BJP government without getting answers to these questions first?”

BSP leader Mayawati tweeted: “The accident of the Unnao rape victim in Rae Bareli seems to be a conspiracy to kill her. The Supreme Court should take note of it and punish all the culprits.”

Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal visited KGMU trauma centre and assured the victim’s mother of providing better medical treatment if she agreed to shift her to Delhi. After Maliwal, Samajwadi Party leader Juhi Singh, Congress MLAs Aradhana Mishra and Aditi Singh too visited the trauma centre and demanded that the government ensure a free and fair probe, besides security for the family.

UP minister of state for Women and Child Development, Swati Singh, additional chief secretary Avnish Awasthi, chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s advisor Mrityunjay Kumar too visited the trauma centre. The government later announced it would foot the bill for the treatment of the victim and her lawyer.

A CBI team also went to the trauma centre, although agency spokesperson RK Gaur said this was to meet the survivor’s family, not to begin investigation.

First Published: Jul 29, 2019 23:40 IST

All Israeli suspects in Cyprus gang rape released; British complainant arrested

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

All Israeli suspects in Cyprus gang rape released; British complainant arrested

Tourist who said she was attacked is detained on suspicion of filing false complaint; ‘rape never took place,’ police source says

Israeli suspects cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralamni, Cyprus, July 26, 2019 (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Israeli suspects cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralamni, Cyprus, July 26, 2019 (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Seven Israelis held in Cyprus on suspicion of gang raping a teenage British tourist in Cyprus earlier this month were released from custody Sunday, as police turned their attention to their accuser. The tourist has changed her testimony, saying the sex was consensual but that she filed the complaint against 12 Israeli teenagers because she felt humiliated by the fact that they filmed the act without her consent, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday, citing Cypriot press and police.

“All seven Israelis have been released, since 10 a.m.,” police spokesman Christos Andreou told AFP. “The young woman will be taken to court tomorrow morning (Monday).”

Relatives of the Israelis celebrated their release, singing, “Our father in heaven, how good is God,” in footage broadcast on Israel’s Channel 12 news on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier, a police source said the British teenager had been arrested. “She is facing charges of giving a false statement over an imaginary offense,” the police source told AFP. “Rape never took place,” one police source told Reuters.

Cypriot media said that she is suspected of filing a false complaint against the Israelis because they filmed her during the sex acts without having received her consent to do so.

“As I claimed throughout, there was no rape in Cyprus,” said Nir Yaslovitzh, an attorney for some of the suspects. “The youths who went on a vacation that became a nightmare will return to their homes today. All of them will return home to their families. Cypriot police carried out a professional and thorough investigation.”

Yaniv Havari, another Israeli attorney who represents a number of the suspects, told the Kan public broadcaster that his clients were able to provide convincing evidence that they did not commit the crime.

Nir Yaslovitzh, the attorney for some of the Israeli teenagers suspected of raping a British tourist in Cyprus, speaking outside the Cyprus court on July 26, 2019. (Screenshot: Twitter)

“She lied, she said 12 of them raped, that is what she claimed,” Havari said. “For nearly two weeks that is what she has claimed and after all 12 of the detainees gave their version, it seems her version doesn’t stand up.”

The dramatic development came after last week five of the Israeli suspects in the case were released and returned to Israel, though Cypriot police seemed poised at the time to file rape charges against at least three of those still being held.

In addition to those three detained suspects, whose DNA had been found at the scene, police had said they believed three other individuals may have been involved in the alleged crime — with analysis of DNA collected from the alleged victim’s body showing three unrecognized samples.

Twelve Israelis in all were arrested in the resort town of Ayia Napa last week on suspicion that they took part in the alleged gang rape. Some reportedly admitted to having consensual sex with the woman, while others were thought to have possibly been present in the room at the time.

The British woman filed a police complaint a week and a half ago against the Israelis, ranging in age from 15 to 18, who were staying at the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel on the island nation’s southeastern coast.

The woman told the police two of the suspects held her down by the arms as she cried to be let go. She said that their friends then raped her, taking turns, and that several beat her.

Cypriot police found five used condoms and 13 condom wrappers in the room where the alleged rape occurred, reports said.

AFP contributed to this report.

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India: 5 fold hike in rape of kids from 1994 to 2016

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

5 fold hike in rape of kids from 1994 to 2016: Report

With a score of 297 out of 360, Puducherry emerged as the best performer in terms of child rights, according to the report.

INDIA Updated: Jul 04, 2019 07:35 IST

Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Child Fund India,Plan India,Save the Children India
In 2016, 106,958 crimes against children were reported. Of these, 52% related to abduction and 34% to sexual offences, including rape. (HTFile)

There was a fivefold increase in rapes of children from 1994 to 2016 even as under-five mortality has reduced and the access to education has increased significantly, according to a new report of an alliance of six child rights organisations.

Child Fund India, Plan India, Save the Children India, SOS Children’s Villages India, Terre Des Homes, and World Vision India released the report on Wednesday under the banner of Joining Forces.

The report titled Child Rights in India – an unfinished agenda also evaluated the performances via-a-vis child rights of states and Union territories on 15 parameters like under-five mortality, sex ratio, access to education, play and recreation, protection from violence and child marriages among others.

With a score of 297 out of 360, Puducherry emerged as the best performer in terms of child rights, according to the report. The worst performers are Rajasthan (116), Uttar Pradesh (105) and Jharkhand (100). The report cited the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data and said the rapes increased from 3,986 in 1994 to 19,765 in 2016.

In 2016, 106,958 crimes against children were reported. Of these, 52% related to abduction and 34% to sexual offences, including rape.

“A large number of children are trafficked not only for sex trade but also for other forms of non-sex based exploitation that includes domestic labour, industrial labour, agricultural labour, begging, organ trade, and false marriage,” the report said.

Declining child sex ratio is another cause of concern. The progress has also been slow in combating malnutrition.

Plan India executive director Anuja Bansal underlined the need for the children to feel protected and safe.

Save The Children India CEO Bidisha Pillai said: “…we shine a light on the parameters that need to be improved further. Ensuring that the child rights reach the most marginalised will take double the effort now.”

Government think-tank NITI Aayog special secretary Yaduvendra Mathur said there is a need to invest more in the social sector to improve such parameters.

First Published: Jul 04, 2019 07:31 IST

Israel: ‘I’m innocent!’ freed Palestinian rape suspect declares

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

‘I’m innocent!’ freed Palestinian rape suspect declares, hugging his family

55 days after police arrested him for alleged sexual assault of 7-year-old Israeli girl, Mahmoud Qadusa walks out of prison due to lack of evidence against him

Mahmoud Qadusa (R) hugs his daughter after being released from prison on June 25, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Mahmoud Qadusa (R) hugs his daughter after being released from prison on June 25, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As he embraced his relatives for the first time in nearly two months, a Palestinian man released from jail on Tuesday due to a lack of evidence tying him to the alleged rape of an Israeli girl declared his innocence.

“I have so much to explain about what I went through,” said Mahmoud Qadusa, who was mobbed by Israeli reporters as he hugged his children and siblings at the Beitunia checkpoint. “I’m innocent! I know myself. I was telling them the entire time that I’m not that person.”

Dozens of supporters escorted Qadusa in a convoy back to his home in the central West Bank village of Dir Kadis.

There, speaking by phone to the Kan public broadcaster, he asserted that he had never met the alleged victim and that “someone was behind the whole ordeal who told her to identify me [as the rapist].”

Mahmoud Qadusa after being released from prison on June 25, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“For seven years I’ve worked in that city,” Qadusa said of the ultra-Orthodox settlement where the rape allegedly took place. “I have Jewish friends there. They know me. Ask them what they think of me,” he said, breaking into tears.

One of those friends was Zvika Golbanzitz, who sent Qadusa’s family a bouquet of flowers congratulating them on his release. When police concluded that the attack had taken place on April 5 in a home owned by Golbanzitz, where Qadusa worked, the former testified on his behalf, saying he was with him the entire time.

Qadusa told Kan that police should find the “real” culprit and when they do, “don’t put him in jail, kill him.”

Earlier Tuesday, the IDF’s military advocate general announced that he was pulling the indictment against Qadusa, 46, due to lack of evidence.

“The evidentiary infrastructure that underlies the indictment does not at this time amount to a ‘reasonable chance of conviction.’ Therefore, by law, the criminal process cannot continue, the indictment must be withdrawn and Qadusa released from custody,” the MAG’s office said in a statement.

Attorney Nashaf Darwish (L) speaks with the brother and son of Mahmoud Qadusa, a Palestinian man charged with kidnapping and raping a 7-year-old Israeli girl, at the Judea Military Court in the West Bank on June 19, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“This case tells us a lot about how the legal system operates with regard to Palestinians on the other side of the Green Line,” the freed suspect’s attorney Nashef Darwish said in a statement, arguing that Israel’s military rule in the West Bank prevents Palestinians from receiving a fair trial.

An attorney representing the 7-year-old said the family was in “utter shock” and “the girl is heartbroken and unwilling to leave her home.”

“The country is waking up to a situation in which the person who a 7-year-old claims raped her is being set free,” said Yehuda Fried.

Qadusa, a maintenance custodian at the girl’s school, was arrested 55 days ago.

According to the dropped charges, sometime “between the months of February and April” Qadusa dragged the girl from her school to a vacant home in the settlement, where he raped her as at least two of his friends pinned her down.

Illustrative: Orthodox girls arrive at their school. (Flash90)

Shortly after the indictment was leaked, police came under fire for relying almost entirely on the testimony of the 7-year-old, forgoing forensic evidence in addition to being unable to determine the exact date that the alleged crime had taken place.

Last week, law enforcement announced that they were reopening the investigation in order to verify the suspicions against Qadusa.

On Monday, an official with knowledge of the investigation confirmed that new details had called further into question the level of professionalism with which the probe had been conducted.

More than two months since the rape was believed to have taken place, only on Monday did police arrive at the home of the alleged victim to collect her clothes for DNA testing, the official confirmed, adding that detectives were skeptical as to whether any forensic evidence could be found.

The official also confirmed that the 7-year-old girl was only able to ID Qadusa in school after her mother pointed at him first and told her he was the man who had raped her.

Moreover, a failed polygraph test cited by the military court in successive decisions to extend Qadusa’s detention was carried out in Hebrew, rather than the defendant’s native Arabic, the official said.

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