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Fri 8 Aug 2008 06:24 AM

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Embassy's concern after housemaid torture

Nepalese officials voice alarm at cases of sexual abuse and beating in Saudi Arabia.

A Nepali housemaid is fighting for her life after suffering sadistic torture and rape by her sponsor in Saudi Arabia, Embassy officials have said.

This is the eighth case of the brutal rape of a Nepali maid reported within the last three months in Saudi Arabia and has been reported to the Diplomatic Quarter Police.

Her sponsor has not been identified, detained for questioning or mentioned as a suspect in the crime, reported Arab News on Friday.

Rape is punishable by lashes and prison time at best and, depending on the circumstances, can lead to the death penalty.

Pushparaj Bhattarai, a spokesman for the Nepalese Embassy, told the paper that after sexually assaulting the maid, the sponsor dropped her off at the doorstep of the manpower office.

Bhattarai expressed alarm that cases of sexual assaults, sadistic torture and brutal beatings of Nepali workers in the Kingdom appeared to be on the increase.

Last month, a Nepali maid took shelter at the embassy after being abducted and gang-raped by seven men.

Recently, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on labor exploitation and urged Saudi Arabia to implement labour, immigration and criminal justice reforms to protect foreign workers in the country.

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