/ 4 March 2008

SA nurse detained in Saudi to return home

A Cape Town nurse who was detained in Saudi Arabia would soon be brought back to South Africa, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

Dannelene Noach (54) reportedly went missing in November last year from a hospital in Riyadh.

Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the department was aware of the situation.

”In this regard, the South African embassy in Riyadh is rendering consular support to the nurse in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Mamoepa said the Foreign Affairs consular section in Pretoria was in contact with Noach’s family through their attorney.

”The South African diplomatic mission in Riyadh is working with the Saudi authorities and her employer to facilitate the nurse’s return to South Africa as soon as is possible,” said Mamoepa.

The Cape Argus newspaper reported on Tuesday that Noach was expected home next week after spending three months in a Saudi Arabian prison.

Noach had been working at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City military hospital when she ”disappeared” in November, the daily newspaper reported.

It was found that she had been detained by Saudi Arabian officials and refused access to legal counsel.

Speaking to the newspaper, Noach’s daughter Lee-Ann Noach-Pienaar said the news that her mother would be released to return home was the ”greatest relief”.

”We’re just waiting for a flight number and time,” she said.

Meanwhile, the process of repatriating the body of a South African man who was killed in Iraq over the weekend was still being finalised, said Mamoepa.

”The Department of Foreign Affairs is still in liaison with the employer of the South African national killed in Iraq over the weekend with a view to assisting with the formality of repatriating the mortal remains,” said Mamoepa. – Sapa