(Left) Nimishapriya with her husband Tomy Thomas; (right) Talal Abdo Mahdi Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: A 30-year-old Indian nurse Nimishapriya living in Yemen has been sentenced to death for the death of Talal Abdo Mahdi, a Yemeni man who allegedly harassed and tortured her for two years. In a recent development on Tuesday, the Indian Embassy in Djibouti in a tweet said that they are in touch with Nimishapriya and her lawyer.

The tweet said that they will provide all legal help to lodge an appeal in the court against the death sentence. “Our officers have been in touch with Nimishapriya and her lawyer. Even though our Embassy in Yemen is not functional due to the security situation, we will extend all possible help to her to lodge an appeal in the Appeal Court against the death sentence. Let’s hope for the best,” the tweet read.

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A native of Palakkad in Kerala, Nimishapriya was found guilty of Talal Abdo Mahdi’s killing in 2017, chopping his body to pieces and disposing of the body in a water tank at her house. According to Nimishapriya, in 2015, she and her husband Tony Thomas decided to open a clinic in Yemen. However, they needed the assent of a Yemeni citizen and Priya suggested the name of Mahdi. She visited his clothes shop once earlier.

Later, the owner of the clinic that she was then currently working, Abdul Lateef on agreed to invest in the clinic for 33% of the share and so she did not seek out Mahdi’s help. In 2015, Thomas and his daughter visited Kerala and was unable to go back to Yemen. It was because the country was wrought with civil war and hence stopped issuing Visas. This was when Mahdi started harassing Priya.

During the initial phases, the clinic did well according to Priya however her income jolted when Mahdi came up with the demand that she needs him to pay a share of the income. He allegedly started inserting into the matters of the clinic and registered the vehicles bought for the clinic under his name. Additionally, allegedly without Priya’s knowledge, he added his name as a shareholder of the clinic. This was when they had made papers to include Lateef in the papers. According to Priya, Mahdi even started to get hold of her monthly share from the clinic.

Upon asking her manager he said that it was because Mahdi is her husband and when she approached him he allegedly said that he claimed so that no one would pose problems assuming Priya as a single woman. It was a heavy blow for Nimisha as Talal continued to get hold of her monthly share from the hospital on the pretext that she was his ‘wife.’ According to the nurse, Madhi knew that she was married but everyone in the hospital believed in him. She even approached Mahdi’s father who also believed his son.

Apparently in 2015 before the war broke, Mahdi along with Priya visited Kerala and met Thomas. Thomas even took him sightseeing. It was there that Priya suspects that he took a picture of her wedding album and morphed his image over Thomas’s. Since no one believed her Priya in 2016 went to the police station in Sana’s but as per Yemeni law, she was arrested for raising this complaint along with Mahdi for 16 days. Mahdi who had made a fake marriage certificate submitted it to the court and then they were let off.

Allegedly Mahdi got hold of Nimishapriya’s passport and the period of torture started. Nimishapriya alleged that he attacked her physically, spat on her even in front of hospital staff. He forced her to live with him and would come to her house to inflict injuries on her. According to Nimishapriya, he would even bring his friends to her house at night to force her to do sexual favours. She ran each time to protect herself, said reports.

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Nimishapriya alleged that Mahdi had gone to jail multiple times in between – some of those times based on her complaints of assault, and others allegedly about money fraud, land fraud and vehicle threat of other persons. Thomas recounts that his wife had around 22 SIM cards as each time he would confiscate a SIM card, she would somehow buy another.

Nimishapriya stated that there is a jail near her clinic and Mahdi frequented there based on her complaints. The warden allegedly was aware of Nimishapriya’s condition and was also a patient at her clinic. It was he who allegedly gave Nimishapriya the idea to sedate him and get her passport. He even offered Nimishapriya help in taking him to someplace and coerce him to return her passport, she alleged.

In July 2017 while doing drugs Nimishapriya was able to sedate Mahdi. He then allegedly fell on the floor, started shouting, and then suddenly stopped and laid still. Priya was unable to find his pulse and terrified she called her friend Hanan who is a nurse and was living downstairs. She was aware of the issues Nimishapriya was facing and offered her help to take care of the body. Nimishapriya alleged that panicking in anxiety she took sedative tablets and that it was Hanan who chopped the body and transported it into the water tank.

She was sentenced to the highest punishment by the apex court as she did not get any legal aid when her case was being considered as stated by Nimishapriya. Meanwhile, Mahdi’s family has demanded blood money of Rs 70 lakh to relieve her from the charges. Although the Kerala government and India’s Ministry of External Affairs intervened to appoint a lawyer he was unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.

(With added inputs from The Quint)

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