India’s Supreme Court acquits Bollywood director of rape

Mahmood Farooqui. (Courtesy: ndtv)
Updated 19 January 2018
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India’s Supreme Court acquits Bollywood director of rape

NEW DELHI: India’s top court on Friday upheld the acquittal of a Bollywood director accused of raping an American research scholar in a case that has sparked intense debate about consent in a country with high levels of sexual violence.
Mahmood Farooqui was initially found guilty of rape in 2016, but the Delhi High Court last year overturned the conviction on appeal, ruling the incident had been consensual.
One of the judges hearing that appeal said Farooqui may not have been aware that the woman had not consented to sex, a comment that attracted fierce criticism from rights activists.
“In cases where the parties are known to each other, it could be really difficult to decipher whether a feeble ‘no’ — little or no resistance — actually amounts to denial of consent,” said Justice Ashutosh Kumar.
The alleged victim sought to appeal, but the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed her plea, saying the acquittal had been sound.
“The high court judgment is well written. It does not require our interference,” said S. A. Bobde, one of the judges hearing the case.
Activist Kavita Krishnan said Friday’s ruling was a “betrayal of women’s rights” and of the new, tougher laws on sexual violence introduced a few years ago.
“If you made a drink for a man, our Supreme Court thinks your No can then be read as Yes,” tweeted Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.
The Superme Court’s “refusal to even admit the plea against atrocious ‘Feeble No’ verdict is a betrayal of women’s rights and of the 2013 rape law.”
The case dates back to 2015 when the scholar had traveled to India to seek Farooqui’s assistance with her research. She traveled home to the US shortly afterwards but returned to India to report the matter to police.
India has a grim record of sexual crimes against women, with nearly 39,000 rape cases reported in 2016, according to government data.
The 2012 Delhi gang rape sparked mass protests and led to an overhaul of rape laws that increased penalties for offenders and accelerated trials through courts.
But activists say much more needs to be done.


Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

Updated 22 July 2018
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Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

  • Ozil said he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins
  • He insisted he did not intend to make a political statement

BERLIN: Footballer Mesut Ozil said Sunday he had no regrets about his controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s national squad ahead of the World Cup.
Breaking his silence over the snapshot that caused outrage during the tournament, the Arsenal midfielder said in a statement on Twitter that he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
Ozil said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe,” he said.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.”
Ozil said despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil said.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case it is different. Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”
Ozil, 29, came in for stinging criticism in Germany for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.
Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.
Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.