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Alleged rape victim returns to South Africa
January 21, 2004 18:07 IST
The 27-year-old South African national who had lodged a complaint of sexual assault against fellow countryman Judge Sirajuddin Desai on Sunday has returned to her homeland.
The woman boarded a South African Airways flight for Johannesberg at 2 am and has since reached her home, sources said.
"The lady has returned to South Africa," Consul Peter Coetze of the South African Consulate in Mumbai, said.
According to police sources, Winnie Mandela, estranged wife of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, also took the same flight for Johannesburg.
The lady was staying at a five-star hotel in south Mumbai and was part of the South African delegation that also included of Judge Desai, all of who were here to participate in the WSF.
In her complaint to the Cuffe Parade Police lodged on Sunday evening, she alleged that Judge Desai, 53, sexually assaulted her after inviting her to his room at the hotel late on Saturday night.
To corroborate her allegation, she reportedly handed over a condom to the police, which Judge Desai had allegedly used.
Meanwhile, the South African government has decided to provide legal representation to Desai, a judge in the Cape Town high court.
The South African High Commission in New Delhi has been asked to appoint two Indian lawyers for Judge Desai and for the 26-year-old woman making the accusation of rape, Foreign Affairs Department spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said.
"We will have to wait for the law to take its course. We cannot be seen to be intervening with their (India's) judicial system, just as much we would not want anybody to intervene
with our judicial system," Mamoepa said.
People in South Africa have questioned the credibility of the charge, doubting the actions of the woman's husband in releasing the information to the media only minutes after his wife informed him about it, reports said.
Newspapers in Johannesburg expressed concern about South Africa's image abroad.
"We shudder to think how people in the eastern part of the world regard the morality of South African men," the Citizen newspaper said. Most papers have also carried editorials, expressing alarm at the immoral aspect of the incident.