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Friday, November 29, 2013

London ‘slave’ Siti Aishah in hospital, rallying from stroke

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab is being treated in an undisclosed hospital after suffering a recent stroke following her rescue from a south London flat where she was purportedly enslaved for over 30 years by a communist radical, The Star Online reported today.

The news was relayed by a relative currently in London to Siti Aishah’s niece in Jelebu, Negri Sembilan, Siti Zawiyah Othman.

“We have also been told that my aunt is in a stable condition,” Siti Zawiyah was quoted as saying at her Kuala Klawang home in the Negri Sembilan district.

The 55-year-old niece told the news portal that the family does not know which hospital Siti Aishah is being warded in.

British authorities have been keeping a tight lid on the whereabouts of Siti Aishah and the two other woman who were rescued alongside the 69-year-old Malaysian in a police operation last month.

Siti Aishah’s elder sister Kamar Mahtum Abdul Wahab, 73, who flew to the British capital Monday night with former student activist Hishammuddin Rais and a reporter from The Daily Telegraph, is reportedly still waiting for clearance from the authorities to meet her long-lost sibling.

“Aunt Kamar Mahtum is scheduled to return to Malaysia on December 4. She needs time to be with Siti Aishah and convince her to come home as well,” Siti Zawiyah was quoted saying.

The Malaysian High Commission in London has also been pressing Britain for consular access to the woman, but has yet to be given permission.

In a statement today, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said its access to information on the case has also been limited due to restrictions under UK’s Data Protection Act 1998.

Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that Siti Aishah was the 69-year-old Malaysian woman who had been reported to have lived under three decades of domestic servitude with two other women, a 57-year-old Irish and a 30-year-old Briton, ending days of speculation following the shocking news report.

The leaders of the Maoist sect were reported to be India-born Aravindan Balakrishnan and his Tanzanian-Indian wife Chandra Pattni, who have since been arrested last Thursday after their three suspected captives were freed in a police operation earlier this month.

The three women were finally rescued on October 25 after one of them secretly contacted a British charity group, Freedom Charity, that had been featured on television.

The UK’s Daily Mail today reported the Irish woman to be Josephine Herivel, the daughter of World War II codebreaker John Herivel, who deciphered the Enigma code.

The youngest captive had been reported to be Rosie Davies, whose mother is said to be Sian Davies.

The elder Davies had also lived at another property owned by Balakrishnan and his wife, where she fell out of bathroom window in 1996 under mysterious circumstances and died from her injuries seven months later in 1997, aged 44.

Police said the three surviving women, who are believed to have been living in a flat in Brixton, London, were brainwashed and had reported being beaten, but did not appear to have been sexually abused.

They were occasionally allowed out of the house and detectives are working to understand the “invisible handcuffs” that were used to control them.

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