Police looking for suspects in rape case

Updated 18 July 2012

Police looking for suspects in rape case

Saudi police are searching for a man and his son in connection with the rape and torture of a Filipino woman in Turaif, a small city in northern Saudi Arabia.
The victim, who is believed to have been sexually assaulted by her employer’s son, has been rescued and is currently in custody at the Philippine Embassy.
The embassy said that it learned of the case only on July 8.
Ezzedin Tago, the Philippines ambassador, refused to share more information about the case.
The victim, who has not been identified, is now staying at the embassy’s Bahay Kalinga temporary rescue shelter, said the embassy in a statement on its website.
She was immediately turned over to embassy officials after her complaint was filed with the police.
The statement said the employer and his son are on the run and their whereabouts are not known.
The statement added an embassy team went to Turaif in northern Saudi Arabia to verify reports that the woman was raped and to rescue her.
The team arrived at the employer's house on July 10 accompanied by Turaif police.
Officers forcibly entered the house and secured the woman who expressed happiness at her rescue, said a Filipino community leader who is closely following the case.
He, however, said the victim was saddened the case had gone public.
He requested Arab News not to identify the girl.
The embassy also reminded Filipinos in the Kingdom and their families in the Philippines to refrain from publishing sensitive information through social media platforms or other means regarding such cases as it may prejudice any ongoing investigations.
In another similar and recent case, a Filipino woman who was raped by her employer’s two sons was able to escape, only to be captured again by a prostitution den in the Eastern Province.
Several cases of sexual assaults were reported in 2011 and during the first half of 2012.
Seventy percent of Filipino domestic workers suffer physical and psychological violence, claims a study released by the Philippine's Committee on Overseas Workers Welfare.
In recent years, the Philippine embassies in Arab countries and other government agencies have collected hundreds of testimonies of young women and men tortured and abused in their workplaces.
Since Nov. 3 last year, the Philippines and Indonesian governments have been trying to reach agreements with Arab states including the Kingdom to guarantee a minimum wage and more protection from abuse for their migrant workers.


Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.