June 16, 2012, 6:38 AM IST[/*][/list]
French Diplomat Accused by Wife of Raping DaughterBy Margherita StancatiNEW
DELHI–Indian police questioned a French diplomat after his wife alleged
he had repeatedly raped their almost 4-year-old daughter.
The man was held overnight Thursday for questioning, police in the
southern city of Bangalore said. Police released the man Friday to
French consular officials in Bangalore, according to a lawyer for his
Police did not charge or formally arrest the man. It is customary for
diplomats to be prosecuted for criminal cases in their home countries.
The wife said in an interview she filed a complaint with police in
Bangalore earlier this week after medical tests appeared to confirm the
girl had been abused.
Shoiba Saldana, a doctor who examined the child, said he found
evidence of forceful sexual penetration, including traces of sperm.
Police are expected to release the results of their own forensic tests on the sperm within the next few days.
Attempts to reach the French diplomat were not successful. Officials
at the French Embassy in New Delhi declined to comment. Eric Bosc, a
spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry, said the government is aware
of the case and French officials are in contact with Indian authorities.
Mr. Bosc confirmed the diplomat is out of police custody and receiving
consular assistance. He declined to comment further on the case, saying
“an investigation is in process.”
The wife, who is an Indian national, said she fears her husband will
claim diplomatic immunity and be shielded from India’s legal system.
“The biggest worry is that he will leave the country without facing
trial,” said Asha Nayar-Basu, a lawyer who is representing the man’s
wife and her daughter. She said she has appealed to the Indian
government to prevent the man from leaving.
The mother said the girl first complained of abuse by the father in
April 2010. She said she didn’t take the complaints seriously at first.
The couple, who have been married for over a decade, have two other
children, a six-year-old boy and a one-and-a-half-year old baby girl,
the wife said. The children are French citizens, she said.
“I respected him highly, I loved him,” she added.
–Krishna Pokharel in New Delhi and Inti Landauro contributed to this article
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