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Rediff.com  » News » 'Sangeeta Richard resolute in her commitment to be a cooperating witness'

'Sangeeta Richard resolute in her commitment to be a cooperating witness'

December 21, 2013 11:12 IST

'The outcome of this trial will not directly impact Ms Richard, but we are hopeful that justice will be served,' says a spokesperson for Safe Horizon, the organisation taking care of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's former domestic help.

Rediff.com's Suman Guha Mozumder reports from New York.

Sangeeta Richard, diplomat Devyani Khobragade's former housekeeper, is being taken care of by Safe Horizon, a New-York based community organisation. It has given her shelter, a job in Manhattan, and are providing her legal assistance.

"Richard was referred to Safe Horizon by a community-based organisation in early July. We provide legal services and work to support her needs in any way we can," a spokesperson for Safe Horizon said.

The United States government, the spokesperson said, made the determination to relocate her family, her husband and child, to the US in response to conditions that they are believed to be unsafe. "It is a relatively rare, but not unheard of action," he said.

Richard's family in India is said to have been facing threats after she left Dr Khobragade's home in New York in June. Her family traveled to the US through the efforts of the US government.

Although she does not have a passport -- her Indian passport was canceled by the Indian government -- Richard has continued presence status in the US.

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, victims may qualify for other forms of immigration benefits depending on their unique circumstances.

'Trafficking victims are eligible to self-petition to USCIS for T and U nonimmigrant status which permits them to remain in the US for up to four years and can lead to lawful permanent residence. These applications may require a law enforcement certification.'

Safe Horizon would not let this correspondent speak to Richard. Her attorney too declined so speak on the ground that te case is sub judice.

The Safe Haven spokesperson said that at some point Richard may be available to speak to reporters. "But this is going to be limited press," he said, implying that only the American media would be allowed.

"She is seeking safety and this media firestorm has been overwhelming. She remains resolute in her commitment to be a cooperating witness in this case," the spokesperson said.

"The outcome of this trial will not directly impact Ms Richard," the spokesperson said, "but we are hopeful that justice will be served."

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York