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01 November 2006

Grenfell rape victim speaks out on Muslim sentencing

(ABCNEWS)A woman from Grenfell, in central western New South Wales, whose former doctor has been convicted of raping her, has spoken publicly about her concern at calls to go easy on Muslim offenders

Melbourne Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammed Omran has accused judges of religious bias in sentencing in rape cases.

Dr Rafid Alramadan blamed his Iraqi background and Muslim faith for his conviction on three charges in the Wagga Wagga District Court recently.

He is in Junee Jail awaiting sentencing for drugging and raping her in December last year.

The Grenfell woman who brought the rape charges against her former doctor is worried about calls for leniency.

"Does that bring his sentence down because one person feels that the judicial system is too hard on Muslims?" she said.

"This man was charged on three counts, he deserves to be in jail and he deserves to have the full sentence.

"I already knew he was guilty, but 12 people that didn't know him found him guilty on evidence."

Meanwhile, the woman says she is thinking of leaving the town because of a lack of community support.

The woman says half the residents of Grenfell do not believe her story.

She has thanked those who do support her, but says she thinks she has been adversely judged by many Grenfell people.

"I just can't believe that the town would turn against me, I did this for me but I also did it for the people of the town," she said.

"But it just seems to me that they would prefer to have a doctor who rapes people, patients who trust him, than to worry about what I'm going through."

Meanwhile, Grenfell has secured another Iraqi-trained doctor to take Dr Alramadan's place as the town's only GP.

Dr Ishmael Albadran is to relocate from the Camden area of Sydney and start in Grenfell on November 13.

Weddin Shire general manager Trevor Lobb says he understands Dr Ishmael was secured through advertising by the council, the Division of General Practice and also contacts of Dr Alramadan.

"He's quite young and coming with a young wife, no family at this stage, he will be looking to have his first practice, I suppose, in a country area of Australia," he said.

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