California couple charged with torture of kids due in court

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Louise Turpin appears in court in Riverside, Calif. (AP)
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David Turpin appears in court in Riverside, Calif. (AP)
Updated 23 February 2018
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California couple charged with torture of kids due in court

RIVERSIDE: A California couple charged with torturing their children by starving, beating and shackling them is due in court on Friday.
David and Louse Turpin are scheduled to appear in a Riverside courtroom for a conference about their case.
They have pleaded not guilty to torture and other charges and each is held on $12 million bail.
The couple was arrested last month after their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the family’s home in Perris, California, and called 911. Authorities said the home reeked of human waste and evidence of starvation was obvious, with the oldest sibling weighing only 82 pounds.
The case drew international media attention and shocked neighbors who said they rarely saw the couple’s 13 children outside the home. Those who saw the children recalled them as skinny, pale and reserved.
Authorities said the abuse was so long-running the children’s growth was stunted. They said the couple shackled the children to furniture as punishment and had them live a nocturnal lifestyle.
The courtroom conference is expected to focus on date-setting and other procedural issues. The district attorney’s office has drafted an amended complaint but it has yet to be filed in court, officials said.
It is not immediately clear where the children, who range in age from 2 to 29, are now. They were hospitalized immediately after their rescue and since then county authorities have declined to discuss their whereabouts or condition.
Riverside County has obtained a temporary conservatorship for the seven adult siblings, who declined to speak with reporters through their attorneys.
“Our clients need time, space, and privacy while they receive services and begin the difficult process of rebuilding their lives,” Caleb Mason, an attorney for the siblings, said in a recent statement.


Arrests follow rape of Indian anti-trafficking activists

Updated 23 June 2018
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Arrests follow rape of Indian anti-trafficking activists

  • At least 60 NGOS in four networks are working on a memorandum asking the state to protect activists
  • More recently it brought in the death penalty for those who rape children under the age of 12 following a national outcry over the gang rape

NEW DELHI: Police have made a series of arrests in connection with the abduction and rape at gunpoint of five anti-trafficking campaigners in the central Indian state of Jharkhand early this week.

Khunti police station officials, where the incident happened, told Arab News that three people have been arrested, including the head of the school where the play was being performed. 

Police superintendent Ashwini Kumar Sinha said a leader of a local movement called Pathalgadi instigated the accused, saying that the play performers were against the movement and should be taught a lesson. 

Pathalgadi is a political movement whose followers recognize their village councils as the only sovereign authority and views all outsiders suspiciously.

Activists working in the area say the incident has left them shocked and worried for their safety.

Earlier this week, nine activists were abducted while performing a street play in Kochang village and driven into a forest, where they were beaten and the women raped.

The activists were from the nonprofit organization Asha Kiran, which runs a shelter in the Khunti district for young women rescued from trafficking. Activists say that while such incidents are rare, the abductions have shaken the community.

“There is definitely fear now,” said Rajan Kumar, of Sinduartola Gramodaya Vikas Vidyalaya, a nonprofit group campaigning against people trafficking in the district. 

“But people have to work. We need to do more to take members of the village council into our confidence.”

Rajiv Ranjan Sinha, of the Jharkhand Anti-Trafficking Network, a coalition of 14 organizations, said the incident has frightened everyone.

“We’ve never had to face this before,” Sinha said. “But it will definitely have an implication. New people will be scared to go into the field.”

On Saturday, several non-profit organizations called for a silent protest march at 10 a.m. in the state capital Ranchi on Sunday.

At least 60 NGOS in four networks are working on a memorandum asking the state to protect activists and to take seriously the issue of violence against women.

“We are not only NGO workers, but we are female also,” a spokeswoman said. “There is a lot of fear among workers now.”

India has a poor record of sexual violence against women — at least 39,000 cases were reported in 2016, the latest government data available. Activists say many more incidents go unreported.

The country changed its rape laws and introduced Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences legislation after the rape and murder of a 19-year-old student in December 2012 in the Indian capital.

More recently it brought in the death penalty for those who rape children under the age of 12 following a national outcry over the gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in the northern state of Kashmir.

The girl was kidnapped, drugged and raped in a temple where she was held captive for several days before being beaten to death.