Friday, August 5, 2016

India Lends Saudi Arabia a Hand


"Indian domestic worker accuses Saudi employer of severing hand" Washington Post  October 10, 2015

WASHINGTON — Kasturi Munirathinam, an Indian domestic worker living in Saudi Arabia’s capital, ended up in the hospital after her right hand was allegedly cut off by her employer.

She had been working for a family in Riyadh for three months, and had repeatedly reported mistreatment to her family back in India. The woman of the house allegedly attacked Munirathinam after learning that she had taken her complaints to the authorities, the Times of India reported.

Because of the brutal nature of the alleged attack, Indian diplomats in Saudi Arabia said, the investigation will be handled by the kingdom’s principal intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Directorate."

Her employer claims he was drunk

I remember a time....

"The case of Karl Andree is now a matter of geopolitical controversy amid an outcry over the sentence he faces: 350 lashes, a punishment that his family says could kill him. The British government said Tuesday that it was canceling a program to train prison officers in Saudi Arabia, and that Prime Minister David Cameron would make a personal appeal for clemency, as Andree’s case continued to draw attention on social media. Saudi Arabia’s legal code is based on a strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law, though it is not uncommon for foreigners to consume alcohol covertly."

Or the royal family, for that matter.

Briton to be released from Saudi jail

Even gave him a prize upon release.

"Father cut off hands of infant daughter’s rapist, police say" Washington Post  April 21, 2016

Some fathers will do anything for their children, but one in the Bathing district of India allegedly took the idea of ‘‘outlaw justice’’ to an extreme.

Two years ago, an unnamed then 14-year-old was accused of raping the 7-month-old daughter of Parminder Singh. The girl’s mother walked in on him allegedly molesting the infant in April 2014, the AFP reported.

On Tuesday, the now 17-year-old appeared at the Rama Mandi district courts in Punjab, only to have the hearing postponed. Singh approached him with the offer of an out-of-court settlement of some sort. He promised to give the boy a ride to town on the back of his motorbike, The Indian Express reported. But the brick kiln laborer allegedly had no intention of offering any such settlement.

Instead, he was allegedly out for revenge.

Authorities say he drove the boy out to a canal, where he tied him to a tree, beat and cut him before slicing off both of his hands at the wrists.

‘‘[Singh] took him near a dried up canal, beat him up badly and then tied him to a tree and finally hacked his hands off,’’ senior Bathinda police officer Swapan Sharma told the AFP. ‘‘There is nothing below the wrists now.’’ 

Just trying to end the drought defense?

The boy likely would have bled to death on the edge of that dry bed, but some nearby villagers heard his desperate screams of writhing pain and came to his aid.

‘‘A few villagers heard the juvenile’s cries and ran towards the canal. They found the victim bleeding profusely,’’ Sharma told The Indian Express.

They found the boy on the ground, alone save for his severed appendages that lay beside him.

‘‘The father had fled by then,’’ Sharma added.

According to the AFP, the police claimed to have gathered the bleeding teenager and his now-detached hands, rushing them to the Bathinda hospital.

‘‘Locals alerted police and we rushed to the spot. We picked him up, his hands, and took him to the hospital,’’ he told AFP.

The Indian Express, however, reported that villagers brought the boy to the hospital.

Gruesome photographs show the boy reclined on a stretcher, wearing only jeans, the knees stained orange with dried blood. His arms end in bulbs of bandages where his hands should be. Snugly on his head is a cap of bandages.

The police have charged the father with attempted murder and are searching for him.

Such forms of personal revenge persist in India and often go unreported to the police or the news media.

In 2014, an enraged father who learned that his daughter was pregnant by a rapist, reportedly invited the man to dinner before torturing and killing him. The man, who turned himself in to police, said he took matters into his own hands fearing justice would not be served.

He's never seen People's Court?


I'm not trying to be flip, either, folks. Reading and reporting that story horrified me. 

As do all the collections I present in this post:

"Two girls, including a toddler and a 5-year-old, were raped in separate attacks in New Delhi, police said Saturday, in the latest incidents of sexual violence against girls and women in India. A 2½- year-old girl playing outside her home was raped in a west Delhi suburb Friday evening, police said. No arrests have been made. Police said they were questioning three men arrested in the gang-rape of the 5-year-old Friday evening in east Delhi."

I didn't highlight anything there because the thought alone is unfathomable to me.

"Hundreds of protesters gathered in India’s capital on Sunday to protest the release from custody of the juvenile who was convicted of raping a young woman in a moving bus three years ago. But he did not walk free. He was shifted to a rehabilitation home run by a nonprofit group where, an official said, he will undergo psychological rehabilitation, be given sewing work, and be monitored. Some protesters said they had demonstrated on the streets three years ago. ‘‘When so many thousands of us came here three years ago, we thought things would change. But we are back here shouting the same slogans,’’ said a 21-year-old college student who gave her name as Bhavna."

I'm with you.

Indian pairs marry in mass wedding

I'll wait and catch the divorce:

"India’s Sonia, Rahul Gandhi appear in court in graft case" by Muneeza Naqvi Associated Press  December 19, 2015

NEW DELHI — The Gandhis are accused of illegally acquiring the assets of the parent company of the National Herald, a newspaper once run by their family. The National Herald was set up in 1938 by India’s first prime minister and Rahul Gandhi’s great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru. The newspaper shut down in 2008 and the company that ran it, Associated Journals Ltd., was converted into a real estate firm.

Subramanian Swamy, a Bharatiya Janata Party member, alleges the Gandhis and some supporters illegally used party funds to acquire the assets of the real estate firm.

The Congress party has called the allegations an attempt by the BJP to muzzle the opposition.

‘‘The current federal government is deliberately targeting its opposition,’’ Sonia Gandhi told reporters after the hearing. ‘‘And it is using government agencies to do that.’’

Swamy, however, claimed he had enough documents and evidence to secure a conviction. ‘‘I will win this case,’’ he told reporters, adding that it was ‘‘an open and shut case.’’

‘‘Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be sentenced to serve prison time,’’ he said.

With no formal charges being filed yet, it is not clear how much jail time, if any, the Gandhis and the others involved in the case could face.

Security at the courthouse was exceptionally tight, with hundreds of police and paramilitary troops swarming the area.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi — family members of two former Indian prime ministers who were assassinated — are provided the highest level of security the country offers.

Rahul’s grandmother, Indira Gandhi, was prime minister when she was gunned down in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards. His father, Rajiv Gandhi, was killed by a suicide bomber in 1991, a year and a half after his term as prime minister ended.

Outside the court and across several parts of the country, tens of thousands of Congress party workers took to the streets Saturday to show their support and to protest the allegations against their leaders.

The Italian-born Sonia Gandhi has led the party since 1998.

The Nehru-Gandhi family and the Congress party that they dominate has ruled India for all but 10 years since the country gained independence from British rule in 1947.

But the party faced its worst electoral drubbing in national elections last year, winning only 44 seats in the 543-seat lower house of Parliament.

Recent elections have been swinging back the other way.


Also see:

"Manali police were in touch with officials at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi and were keeping them informed about the progress in the investigation. The picturesque hill resorts of Himachal Pradesh are very popular with young Israelis who travel in India after their military service, despite concerns about the safety of women."

At least the Saudis treat their women better:

Saudi women face off against men for first time in elections
For first time, Saudi women go to polls
20 Saudi women elected to office
Saudi women driving Uber growth

"Man held in blackmail case involving Danvers teen" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  October 21, 2015

SALEM — The relationship started in January on the messaging application Kik, where a 15-year-old girl from Danvers swapped photos with a woman named “Hayley,” a prosecutor said.

A few months later, their communications turned sinister as “Hayley” allegedly demanded that the girl steal her friends’ phones and share their sexually explicit videos or photographs, and meet with and perform oral sex on a man.

If she didn’t, “Hayley” threatened to make public sexually explicit photographs and videos of the girl without her consent in a plot to blackmail her, according to Essex Assistant District Attorney A.J. Camelio.

The girl and her father reported the threats to Danvers police in March, and that’s when investigators learned that “Hayley” and the man seeking oral sex were the same person: Abdulrahim Altalhi, a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian national attending college in Indiana, Camelio said.

Altalhi appeared in Essex Superior Court Wednesday for his arraignment as Camelio detailed how investigators found child pornography and Internet research of “ISIS militant rape videos” and of places where rape is legal on electronic devices allegedly used by the defendant.

Camelio asked that Altalhi be held without bail, citing the “overwhelming strength” of the prosecution’s case, “extraordinarily serious” charges, and the defendant’s lack of ties to Massachusetts.

Judge John T. Lu granted the request and ordered Altalhi to return to court Dec. 2.

He is accused of attempted extortion, two counts of distributing material of a child in a state of nudity, and other charges. Not-guilty pleas were entered on his behalf.

During the alleged blackmail attempt, Camelio said Altalhi contacted the teenager and claimed that he, too, was being extorted by “Hayley” and that “they would have to cede to her demands.”

“Eventually, the victim began to refuse the demands that were being made upon her by the defendant,” Camelio said. “When she began to refuse the defendant’s demands, he indicated to her that he would begin to release photographs or videos of her without her consent.”

Altalhi altered a photograph that the girl provided by adding her name, her parents’ names, the name of her high school, and her hometown to the image, Camelio said. He later sent that photograph to the girl’s sister and sent sexually explicit videos of her to “unidentified people on the Internet,” the prosecutor said.

Police arrested Altalhi at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in August as he was returning to the United States for school, Camelio said. Officials identified Altalhi as a student at the University of Evansville in Indiana, but a school spokesman has said he did not enroll this semester.

Police seized his electronic devices, including a phone and iPad, Camelio said.

While searching the devices, investigators found pictures and videos of the girl, the application used to alter an image of her, and at least four child pornography videos, Camelio said. Altalhi will also be charged in connection with the child pornography, the prosecutor said.

Lawyer John Salsberg asked Altalhi’s bail be set at $35,000. He said Altalhi has no place to run to and will show up for court. The attempted extortion claim, he said, is overblown, given that Altalhi never laid out a plan to meet with the girl.

Salsberg also asked Lu to examine chats that occurred on the Kik application, saying the girl presented herself as being “hypersexualized,” and that the discussions entail fantasy and role playing. Some of those exchanges, he said, might not be serious.

“I don’t want to be sort of accused of well, ‘Now you’re blaming the victim,’ because that’s not the point here. The point really is to address the seriousness of the offense,” Salsberg said.

Salsberg, who wanted Lu to examine the chats privately, declined to submit them after the judge said he could not guarantee that the documents could be impounded.

Camelio acknowledged the girl exchanged some sexually explicit photographs and videos with others online, but said Altalhi was charged because he disseminated a photograph and videos of the teen against her wishes.

“Despite the fact that the defense says that he does not intend to blame the victim, that’s exactly what I heard during the course of that presentation,” he said.


RelatedSaudi Sex Pervert 

The Indians and Saudis have more in common than that:

Saudi stampede may be deadliest accident recorded at hajj event

Stopped me in my tracks.

"Death toll at stampede near Mecca at 1,364, count shows" by Jon Gambrell Associated Press  October 09, 2015

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A stampede last month outside of Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca killed at least 1,364 people during the annual hajj pilgrimage to the kingdom, an Associated Press count showed Thursday, nearly 600 more than the official death toll.

The AP count of dead from the disaster — the worst tragedy to strike the hajj in a quarter-century — is based on tolls offered by 18 countries through their officials or state media broadcasts. The tolls are said to include only those killed in the disaster at Mina, near Mecca.

That puts the Sept. 24 tragedy, with hundreds still reported missing, closer to the deadliest disaster to ever strike the hajj. A stampede in 1990 killed 1,426 people at an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites in Mecca.

Saudi officials have said their official figure of 769 killed and 934 injured in the Mina disaster remains accurate, though an investigation into its causes is ongoing. Health authorities in the kingdom previously said civil defense officials would be offering any new casualty figures, though no new toll has been released by authorities since Sept. 26.

Authorities have said the Mina stampede happened as two waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow road, causing hundreds of people to suffocate or be trampled to death.

Shi’ite power Iran, the Mideast rival of Sunni Saudi Arabia, has blamed the disaster on the kingdom’s ‘‘mismanagement.’’ It also accused Riyadh of a coverup, saying the real death toll exceeds 4,700, without providing evidence to support its claim.

Diplomats in Indonesia, Pakistan, and India previously have said Saudi officials gave them some 1,100 photographs of those killed in the Mina disaster. At that time, Saudi officials said the photographs included pilgrims who died of natural causes.

Now, however, recent Indian documents on the disaster refer to at least 2,046 photographs of the dead in Saudi Arabia, though its consular officials say some bodies were photographed multiple times.

Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, said Thursday his country’s diplomats have seen over 2,000 photos purportedly of dead from the Mina disaster, without elaborating.

The AP count of the Mina dead includes totals from 18 of the more than 180 countries from which pilgrims traveled. Iran said it had 465 pilgrims killed, while Egypt lost 148 and Indonesia 120.

Others include Pakistan with 89; India 81; Mali 70; Nigeria 64; Bangladesh 63; Senegal 54; Benin 51; Cameroon 42; Ethiopia 31; Morocco 27; Algeria 25; Ghana 12; Chad 11; Kenya eight and Turkey three. Hundreds of pilgrims remain missing, according to these countries.

In previous years, the hajj has drawn more than 3 million pilgrims without any major incidents and Saudi Arabia has spent billions to prepare for the pilgrimage. Able-bodied Muslims are required to perform the five-day pilgrimage once in their lifetime, and each year poses a massive logistical challenge for the kingdom.


Also see:

2,121 killed in Hajj disaster, tally shows
Prince says Saudis will stay in charge of hajj

Time to paddle out into the Indian Ocean:

Truth and reconciliation in Sri Lanka
UN urges look at Sri Lanka atrocities

"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that it had arrested a Syrian man and a Philippine woman on charges of manufacturing suicide bomb belts in the kingdom’s capital. The official Saudi Press Agency reported that the woman sewed explosive belts for the Syrian. It said police raided their house in Riyadh on Wednesday, defusing the booby traps inside and finding two explosive belts and bomb-making materials, as well as a machine gun. (AP)

They got a tip from -- you guessed it -- India.

"Indian prime minister’s first Saudi visit underscores business ties" Associated Press  April 03, 2016

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India met with Saudi King Salman on Sunday during his first official visit to the kingdom, home to a large number of Indian laborers and a major trade partner that supplies around 19 percent of India’s crude oil imports.

Modi’s visit underscored the major business ties between the countries, despite Saudi Arabia’s historically close relationship with India’s long-standing rival Pakistan. Modi visited Pakistan in December, suggesting a thawing of relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Maybe they could all meet somewhere

Give them a heads-up first, though.

Saudi Arabia is traditionally India’s largest supplier of crude oil, and India is one of the world’s largest consumers of crude. Trade between the countries reached $39 billion in 2014, according to a joint statement released after Modi’s meeting with King Salman.

So all that climate change stuff with Obama.... sigh.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to keep its edge over rival Iran, which is looking to increase its own oil exports to India. The kingdom is also rushing to diversify its economy as lower global oil prices impact revenue.

During their meeting, the sides signed five agreements, including plans to cooperate in intelligence sharing related to terror financing and money laundering, as well as a labor cooperation agreement and another to promote bilateral investments in the private sector. The two also agreed on the need to intensify defense cooperation through mutual visits by military experts and joint military exercises.

In a joint statement, Salman and Modi said they strongly condemned terrorism and reject any attempts ‘‘to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion, or culture.’’ 

Maybe they could both stop supporting it then.

Modi, who has come under fire for his party’s links to hard-line Hindu groups, has long had an uneasy relationship with his country’s roughly 120 million Muslims.

Still, Modi gifted King Salman a gold-plated replica of a mosque in Kerala, India, that was built by Arab traders in the early seventh century. For his part, Salman awarded Modi Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honor, the King Abdulaziz Sash.