Former UN climate panel chief barred from leaving India

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2015 7:39 AM
Former UN climate panel chief barred from leaving India

NEW DELHI (AP) — A court on Thursday barred the former chairman of the U.N. climate panel from leaving India, where he faces charges of sexually harassing a woman at his New Delhi energy institute.

The court also said R.K. Pachauri could not be arrested until after March 27, while he undergoes hospital treatment for hypertension. But it prohibited him from entering or contacting anyone at the research and lobbying organization he heads, called The Energy Resources Institute.

Pachauri had chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 2002 until Tuesday, when he resigned after a 29-year-old woman accused him of stalking and sexually harassing her while they worked together at TERI.

A police report said the woman gave police dozens of text messages and emails that she alleged had been sent by Pachauri. A Delhi court on Monday ordered Pachauri to cooperate in the investigation.

Pachauri, 74, has denied the allegations and pledged to cooperate with the investigation. He has also taken a leave of absence from TERI until the case is resolved.

On Wednesday, he entered a hospital for cardiac treatment after developing hypertension and stress brought on by the case, his lawyer Shankh Sengupta said. In 2010, Pachauri had undergone a stent procedure, and was under constant monitoring.

"His condition aggravated suddenly a few days back, and he was rushed to the hospital," Sengupta told Press Trust of India.

The accusations against Pachauri have caused outrage in India, where women face a stigma against discussing issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace.

Several recent high-profile cases suggest, however, that women are beginning to feel more comfortable going public with reports of sexual assaults — an important breakthrough in a country where men feel emboldened to commit crimes because they know women experience such a stigma.

In 2013, an editor of an Indian magazine known for exposing abuses of power was arrested after a young female colleague accused him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel elevator during a conference.

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