Snapchat used by allegedly kidnapped women to reveal location to police, court told

Another relative grabbed the other woman by the hair, pulled her to the ground and held the other knife to her stomach, allegedly telling her: “You bitch, you think you can run away from home? I have a knife in my hand. Don’t move, don’t scream.”

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At one point during the ordeal, the cousin allegedly ripped a gold cross necklace from around the neck of one of the women, who had converted from Islam to Christianity.

The women were then bound, gagged, forced into the back of a car and driven back to Sydney, their wrists and mouths concealed by coats and face masks. Meanwhile, the father of one of the women drove a truck to Victoria and cleared the home of their belongings.

The pair were eventually untied and one of the women managed to grab her phone and use Snapchat’s location pin to alert her boyfriend, who called the police.

Prosecutor Philip Teo said the kidnapping had been thoroughly planned and required “significant effort to orchestrate”.

The court heard the women, who are cousins, had tried to escape their family last March but had been discovered within hours and talked into returning home.

Teo argued the four family members had a history of tracking down the women and posed a risk if released on bail.

Senior Detective Constable Ardi Yavari, who is the informant in the case, said investigators were also concerned about relatives trying to coerce the alleged victims into withdrawing their statements.

The court heard the women had already been contacted by an unknown phone number suspected to be linked to a family friend or relative, pressing them to withdraw the charges.

“I, myself, am fearful for their lives,” Yavari told the court.

However, the lawyer representing the alleged kidnappers, Rishi Nathwani, argued intervention orders currently in place to protect the women, as well as additional bail conditions, would mitigate the risk.

Magistrate Carolyn Burnside said both women had been subjected to “a very high level of threatening and humiliating behavior” from their relatives.

“It’s all about shaming the family,” she said.

She refrained from deciding on whether to grant bail to the four co-accused on Thursday, deferring the decision until later this month.

“I need to look at the risk factors here very carefully because there are two young women who are involved in this matter said to have been victims of high levels of aggression,” she said.

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