Hazel Mathias' parents continue fight for justice

Hazel Mathias' parents continue fight for justice

The parents of nurse Hazel Mathias, who was found dead under suspicious circumstances in Saudi Arabia will approach the Ministry of External Affairs (MoEA), seeking justice.

Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag, who is the district president of the Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF), told reporters on Saturday that Hazel’s father Robert Quadras was convinced that if a need arose his family, in consultation with religious leaders, would consent to get the body of their daughter exhumed for a detailed post mortem.

Dr Shanbhag accused the office of the Consulate General of India in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, of making merely half-hearted attempts to crack the mystery behind Hazel’s death. Even after three months, the victim's family is not sure if Hazel’s death was due to suicide. Important documents, including the post mortem report, the inquest report, the death note written by Hazel, and the chargesheet, which would have helped Hazel’s parents come to a conclusion, had not reached them.

He said that, instead, the consulate general had sent only a doctor’s report declaring that the death was due to a suicide as well as another report from the police to support the claim with the mortal remains of Hazel. The family had received a report from the Forensic Medicine Centre, Al-Baha, signed by Dr Bandar Saleh Al-Zahrani, declaring that the cause of Hazel’s death was asphyxia and that Hazel had died hanging.

Dr Shanbhag wondered how a doctor could declare that it was suicide without referring to the post mortem report. Now, the family is unsure whether any post mortem was conducted at all. The HRPF has sought the help of the office of the Consulate General of India in Jeddah to collect the necessary documents and forward them to Hazel’s parents. If the family does not receive any document, the HRPF will approach the MoEA, highlighting the lapses in the investigation into Hazel’s death, he added.

The Foundation also learnt from reliable sources that Hazel had left behind a death note and had named those responsible for her death. A criminal case was also filed in this regard but the HRPF has not follow-up report on whether a judgement was passed. It is the duty of the office of the Consulate General to furnish this information to Hazel’s family, he insisted.

The family will wait for a week more before approaching the MoEA, said Dr Shanbhag.

He pointed out that Ibrahim Al-Zaheed, who had been accused by Hazel of harassing her, was arrested and released two days ago. Dr Shabhag demanded that the HRPF be informed the grounds on which Ibrahim was released.