Sunday, December 30, 2007

Justice, not whitewash for Filipina rape victim!

News Release
30 December 2007

Justice, not whitewash for Filipina rape victim!
OFW group urges newly-installed Jeddah Consul General

Justice and not whitewash, must be achieved for Marie (not her real name), a victim of multiple-rape last Christmas in Saudi Arabia.

This was the call made by Migrante Saudi Arabia Coordinator Andrew M. Ociones to newly-appointed Jeddah Consul General Ezzedin Tago after the group confirmed Marie's story which was first broadcast over a national radio station in Manila.

The multiple-rape incident came barely a day after ConGen Tago was sworn in on 24 December.

Whitewash feared

Marie was allegedly raped by three Saudi men from December 24-25 in an area surrounding Makkah, about an hour away from Jeddah. She arrived at the Welfare Center of the Philippine Consulate on Christmas Day.

However, until now the victim still has not gone through any medical examination - a standard procedure for rape cases anywhere else, thus Migrante Saudi's fears of a whitewash.

“Wala na pong ebidensya," Marie recounted to Migrante Saudi representative by telephone. But as to who gave her that idea, Marie chose not to elaborate.

“We believe either Marie was ill-advised or our welfare officers are not doing their jobs,” Ociones asserts. “Any medical practitioner worth his salt knows that evidence of rape is identifiable even months after the incident.”

Marie herself claims during the phone interview that “natulala na lang ako minsan,” an indication of trauma which is still not addressed until now.

Christmas rape

Her employer allegedly raped her on Christmas Eve and she escaped by running away the next day.

Another Saudi national allegedly picked her up and promised to bring her to the Philippine Consulate but took her in a nearby house and raped her instead. The second Saudi man allegedly brought another friend who became her third rapist.

She was allegedly saved from a possibly fourth rape attempt by another Saudi national after three dark-skinned men helped her and hailed the taxi that brought her to the Consulate grounds in Jeddah.

Marie was hired as a dressmaker and arrived in Saudi Arabia only on 10 November 2007 and deployed as a domestic helper. She claims she's only 32 years old but her passport indicates she's 37 after a typographical error on her birth certificate.

(Note: Other media reports identified her as "Ana." They are one and the same although there are two confirmed victims of rape currently under the custody of the Philippine Consulate's Welfare Center in Jeddah .)

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Andrew M. Ociones
Coordinator, Migrante Saudi Arabia
Tel. No.: +966-56-679-3202

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