x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mother disputes son's US rape conviction

The mother of a man serving prison time for rape is appealing to the public for his release, arguing that he was unfairly convicted.

DUBAI // The mother of an Indian fashion designer sentenced to 59 years by a US court on multiple charges of sexual assault yesterday rallied for public support to free her son, claiming he was innocent.

"I need freedom for my son; I need justice," Shashi Abraham, the mother of Anand Jon Alexander, 37, told reporters at a press conference in Dubai. "My son is languishing in jail. He is in solitary confinement for crimes he didn't commit. There has been a travesty of justice," she said.

Alexander was convicted in 2009 on dozens of charges, including a rape and 13 other cases of sexual abuse. He had also been charged with violent crimes, child abuse and illegal drug use.

The California-based designer was arrested at his Beverly Hills flat after a woman accused him of rape. He is also being tried in New York and Los Angeles, where he launched an appeal two months ago.

Ms Abraham, who lives in India, had hoped her appeal would help garner moral and financial support among Indian expatriates in the UAE, and would also influence the Indian government to act.

"We have met several Indian politicians, but the Indian government has not taken any action," she said, adding that there was a need for a legal body to protect overseas Indians.

Ms Abraham said legal fees were "exorbitant", and the family needed financial help to fight the case.

pkannan@thenational.ae