An unnamed Saudi diplomat stationed at the Saudi Embassy in New Delhi is accused of repeatedly raping two Nepalese women while holding them hostage in his home. The two women were his maids. Indian police safely removed the women from the diplomat’s residence on Monday, Sept. 7. As of Sept. 10, the women have since returned safely to Nepal. The diplomat has yet to be named publicly.
The maids, aged 30 and 50 years, claim they were held captive, starved and abused for several months by the diplomat, his family and other Saudi nationals, according to BBC News. An advocacy group uncovered the crime and left a tip claiming that the diplomat was holding the women. Since the women’s story was released, women’s rights activists have been protesting outside the Saudi embassy in New Delhi because they believe these women deserve justice for what they endured.
According to a medical examiner, the two women were raped and assaulted, but the Saudi Embassy has denied the accusations saying, “we strongly stress that these allegations are false and have not been proven,” The New York Times reported.
Because the accused rapist is a diplomat, it is difficult to prosecute him as he holds diplomatic immunity. The International Business Times explains, “diplomats are granted immunity from arrest in the countries where they are posted.” The first step after the investigation will be the launch of a diplomatic complaint. The only way the diplomat can be investigated and charged is if the Saudi government waives his immunity.
If the allegations are found to be true, he will be expelled from his position and immunity will be waived. India’s government is pushing the Saudi Arabian government to cooperate because investigations need to be carried out to determine if he is guilty. India’s foreign minister contacted the Saudi Ambassador to India in an attempt to get the embassy to help move the case along and bring comfort to the victims.
As this case has resuled in chaos and accusations, it has also resulted in a diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and India. The Washington Post expressed the Saudi embassy’s complaint that the police violated diplomatic protocol by entering the diplomat’s home. On the other hand, when talking to BBC News, the Nepalese ambassador to India said he was not aware that a Saudi diplomat was involved when he called the police. He was trying to protect women from his country and did not take into account who the suspect could have been. The Nepalese ambassador was only concerned about the women’s well-being and getting them out of the house.
This situation has caused a case of factual hearsay between the Saudi embassy and the Nepalese ambassador. Time will tell if the Saudi diplomat’s immunity will be waived. With this decision, investigations and prosecution may or may not be carried out.
Editor’s Note: Information from The New York Times, BBC, The International Business Times and The Washington Post were was used in this report.