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Saudi diplomat accused of raping two maids leaves India

A Saudi diplomat accused of raping two Nepali women hired to work as maids has left India under diplomatic immunity, according to the foreign ministry.

Foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the Saudi diplomat, who is allegedly accused of abusing two Nepali maids has left India, and added that the official was protected under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

Last weekend, the Indian police raided the diplomat's residence in Gurgaon and told reporters they found two Nepali women employed as maids. They opened an inquiry into the allegations made by the two women that they had been held against their will, denied water and food, beaten and repeatedly raped by up to seven men at a time over a period of fifteen days.

However, the Saudi Arabian Embassy denies all the allegations and refused to repeal diplomatic immunity for the official, making it impossible for him to be tried in India.

The police investigations could not move forward as officers were not able to interrogate the diplomat, who was reported to have moved with his family into the Saudi Arabian embassy in New Delhi due to his diplomatic status.

Both the women came from rural areas of Nepal and were sent to Saudi Arabia as domestic maids by human traffickers before returning to New Delhi with their new employer. Such human traffickers send thousands of women to India from Nepal and hundreds at least to the Gulf every year.

On Sept 7, the women, aged 30 and 50, were rescued from the 10th and 12th floor of an apartment block after a third, recently hired maid raised the alarm. Reports of medical examinations of the victims seemed to support the women's description of repeated abuse.