British-Iranian aid worker Narges Ashtari acquitted by Odisha court of involvement in child's death
A British-Iranian woman convicted in 2014 for causing the death of a child has been acquitted by an appeals court, according to media reports.
A British-Iranian woman convicted in 2014 for negligence resulting in the death of a child has been acquitted by an appeals court, according to media reports.
The New Indian Express reported that Narges Kalbasi Ashtari, who was found guilty in a case of negligence in 2014, leading to the death of a tribal child in Odisha's Rayagada district, was exonerated on appeal.
The 28-year-old ran an orphanage through her NGO Prishan Foundation in Mukundapur village of Rayagada district. In 2014, her foundation organised a picnic, during which six children were swept away while bathing in a river.
Five of the children were rescued, but Asim Jilakara, 5, was feared drowned. His body was never recovered.
BBC reported that Ashtari, who spent over a year in jail, claimed that the police accused her of throwing the boy into the river. She alleged that the cops entangled her in the case after she refused to pay bribes to a local official.
Ashtari was barred from leaving India during her appeal. She circulated an online petition which drew hundreds of thousands of signatures. "I have gone through the most horrific forms of abuse by a group of people with immense power, influence and protection," she wrote on the petition, BBC reported.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the court said the negligence charge against Asthari was "trumped up" and she could claim compensation from the state for the harassment she faced.
Rayagada additional district and sessions judge Debadatta Das Mohapatra ruled that the trial court erred when they placed the burden on Ashtari to prove her innocence and department from the settled norms of criminal jurisprudence, the report added.
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