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Victim in Malaysia-New Zealand diplomatic row angered by focus of investigation

Published on Jul 3, 2014 4:04 PM
 
This general view shows the exterior of the High Commission of Malaysia building in Wellington on July 1, 2014. The 21-year-old woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a junior Malaysian diplomat in New Zealand has vented her anger at the authorities for having forgotten her plight in the international row over which country should prosecute the suspect. -- PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The 21-year-old woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a junior Malaysian diplomat in New Zealand has vented her anger at the authorities for having forgotten her plight in the international row over which country should prosecute the suspect.

The woman reportedly told New Zealand member of parliament Jan Logie that she was appalled at the focus of the case, in which she has been referred as simply "the victim".

"Right at the moment she's running on adrenaline and is angry. She's been listening to all of these debates where she's been reduced down to the phrase 'the victim'.

"What she sees is the real issue - the fact that the system didn't listen to her, and has effectively been setting up to deny her justice. She gets the connection to that and a lot of other people's experience and she's angry," Logie was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying.

Logie said the young woman opened up to her because she had spoken about sexual violence in Parliament, and had voiced her anger at the focus of the debates.

The woman also voiced her concerns that she would need to give evidence in Malaysia if the accused, Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, was not extradited to New Zealand.

New Zealand Foreign Ministry chief executive John Allen on Wednesday apologised to the woman "for the turmoil that she has had to suffer".

He even offered to resign over the misunderstanding that ensued, but was turned down by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

Muhammad Rizalman, who served at the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington with a defence portfolio, was accused of sexually assaulting the woman at her home on May 9.

He has since returned to Malaysia under diplomatic immunity, after burglary and sexual assault charges were brought up against him in a New Zealand court on May 10.

However, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said on Wednesday that Muhammad Rizalman would be returned to New Zealand authorities to face the charges there.

 

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