Indian mother questions French aid for her rape-suspect husband
Indian mother accuses French father of raping their daughter and says Paris is giving him support while neglecting their children
An Indian mother whose daughter was allegedly raped by her French father has asked France's foreign ministry to explain why their diplomats are providing support for him but not the little girl.
In a case threatening to overshadow President Francois Hollande's scheduled visit to India next week, lawyers acting for Suja Jones Mazurier have asked the ministry to investigate the conduct of senior officials at the French consulate in Bangalore.
The father, Pascal Mazurier, who worked at the consulate, was charged in June last year with the rape of his three-year-old daughter.
He was released on bail in October but continues to face the rape charge and has been forced to surrender his passport.
Two days after he was imprisoned, Mazurier transferred 250,000 rupees (HK$36,000) to an account in the name of Vincent Caumontat, the deputy consul in the southern city regarded as the hub of India's burgeoning IT industry.
Lawyers for the mother have asked Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to investigate why the money was apparently transferred to the consulate official.
The lawyers have also asked Fabius to explain why the father has received what they described as excessively active consular support while the interests of the daughter, now four, and her brothers, two and seven, who are all French citizens, have allegedly been ignored.
Their complaint suggests that Dominique Causse, the consul at the time of Mazurier's arrest, attempted to pervert the course of justice by suggesting to the Indian police that Mazurier was subject to diplomatic immunity "whilst knowing perfectly well he was not at a level to be accorded a diplomatic passport".
Confusion over that issue led to Mazurier, who was arrested on June 14, not being formally charged until June 19, a day after France's ambassador in New Delhi clarified his status.
Lawyers for Suja Jones urged Fabius to appoint an official from the Delhi embassy to ensure that the interests of the children were being defended as actively as those of Mazurier.
There was no immediate reaction from the Foreign Ministry to the complaint filed by Suja Jones's lawyers on Tuesday afternoon.
Officials at Hollande's official residence, the Elysee Palace, were equally tight-lipped about an audience granted to Pascal Mazurier's lawyers on Monday. The lawyers confirmed the meeting on Tuesday but Hollande aides refused point-blank to confirm or deny that it had taken place.
Suja Jones Mazurier said the audience at the Elysee Palace was symptomatic of her husband's efforts to portray the case against him as being the result of family breakdown and depict himself as a victim of a miscarriage of justice.
"I find it really quite shocking that officials working for the president of France should be prepared to have a meeting with the lawyers of someone who has been charged with such a serious crime," she said.
"Can you imagine if we were in France?"
Mazurier's lawyers said they would be bringing defamation charges against his wife in France, on the basis of her alleged fabrication of evidence in the case. "There is now one thing that is certain: the fabrication and manipulation of evidence by Suja Jones," said the lawyers, Pierre-Olivier Sur and Clemence Witt.
Doctors at two Bangalore hospitals have testified that the Mazuriers' daughter was raped.
A report submitted to police by the Baptist Hospital in Bangalore in June last year states the girl had abrasions and lacerations "consistent with a penetrative sexual assault on the vagina and anus" and notes the presence of sperm.
Pascal Mazurier's lawyers say DNA tests have proved that the sperm was not the father's. Suja Jones and her legal team believe the DNA evidence was tampered with.