Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Alleged rapist freed

A Sri Lankan man who was arrested in Jordan over the weekend over allegations of rape and abuse of women at a garment factory, has been set free, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights said.

Charles Kernaghan, director of the institute told News that Anil Shantha was freed yesterday and he is now back at the same garment factory in Jordan.

“Anil Santha was imprisoned for rape on Saturday, June 18. A young Bangladeshi woman testified before a prosecutor at the Criminal Investigation Department of Jordan's Public Security Directorate. The young woman described in great detail how Anil brutally raped her several times, tearing off her dress and biting her--which even a month later left a visible bruise. But after two days in prison, Anil was freed and today, Tuesday, June 21, he was again walking around the Classic factories. The women workers from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are extremely terrified that he will take revenge on them,” Charles Kernaghan said.

Anil Shantha, is the General Manager at the Classic factory in Jordan and was mentioned in a report by the US based Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.

The report had said that scores of young Sri Lankan women suffered routine sexual abuse and repeated rapes, and in some cases even torture at the factory and Shantha was named as one of the rapists.

Charles Kernaghan told News that it was either tremendous incompetence or corruption of the Jordanian police or prosecutors that allowed Shantha to walk free.

“We will continue to pursue Anil Santha, who deserves to be imprisoned for life. We will demand that the wealthy U.S. apparel companies like Wal-Mart and Hanes pay compensation to Anil's victims,” Charles Kernaghan said.

The garment factory in Jordan supplies material Wal-Mart and Hanes, two major US stores.

(Report by Easwaran Rutnam for News

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