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Partner of Irish woman murdered in India slams murder trial as ‘farce’

DUBLIN: The partner of a woman who was brutally murdered while on a yoga retreat in India slams the murder trial a “farce”. Andrew Jordan, the partner of Latvian citizen Liga Skromane, has slammed the Indian justice system, saying he has no faith in it. Unnecessary delays during the trial, as well as the slow pace of administrative proceedings, prompted him to speak out.

Liga Skromane, 33, who’d lived in Ireland for four years before her death, travelled to Kovalam, Kerala in India to treat her mental health issues. The accused Udayan (27) and Umesh (31) lured her to the swamp before drugging, raping and strangling her. Four years after the incident, the trial began in the Thiruvananthapuram district court last June.

The trial proceedings were halted two weeks ago after a crime scene photo submitted in evidence went missing. It was later found among the case files from the clerk’s table in the courtroom on the instructions of Judge B V Balakrishnan. “Everything is like that over there, lots of admin and red tape and delays,” Liga’s partner Andrew said.

Liga along with her sister Ilze came to Kerala to undergo therapy at a retreat resort to treat her depression. Ilze was the first person to take to the witness stand, with 103 witnesses expected to be heard in the trial. She said her sister went missing on March 14 after opting out of a yoga class and taking a rickshaw ride to a tourist beach. A month later, her body was found hanging from a mangrove tree.

Andrew feels the two accused men are merely “scapegoats,” and officials are keen to secure a conviction to “save the tourist dollar”. “I’m emotionally a bit of a basket case at the moment… I just don’t have the head space to follow some sham trial,” he said.

Andrew opts to move on with plans to build a foundation in Liga’s memory to help others who are struggling with their mental health.

He also revealed plans to film Liga’s tragic death and legal proceedings. He spoke to Indian film director Viju Varma about it. “He (Viju Verma) has been encouraging me for the last three years to write it all down and send it to him. That would be a huge boost to me to get my story out there, to tell how much lies and corruption there is. It could help anyone in a foreign country looking for a loved one, it would definitely have helped me had I known how things work,” Andrew said.

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