Maid Abused in Saudi Arabia: Beatings, Rape and Murder Alledged

Posted on January 10, 2011

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BBC News

A court in the Saudi city of Medina has sentenced a woman to three years in jail for the severe physical abuse of her Indonesian maid.

Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, was admitted to hospital in November with broken bones and burns to her face and body.

The case received worldwide attention, and prompted the Indonesian president to demand justice for her “torture”.

But local media say the alleged abuser maintains she is innocent.


Scissors

The employer – who has not been named in media reports – was convicted under a new royal decree against human trafficking, al-Watan newspaper reported.

But Didi Wahyudi, from the Indonesian consulate in Saudi Arabia, told the BBC his country would press for a harsher sentence.

“We are going to file an objection to the judge’s verdict because the sentence is too light compared to the maximum jail sentence of 15 years according to Saudi law, whereas Sumiati has suffered extraordinary consequences.”

The defendant’s lawyer also said she would appeal against the sentence, reported Saudi Gazette.

Ms Sumiati is thought to have arrived in Saudi Arabia last July seeking work.

A video showing Sumiati’s torture (at 1:07 of the video

The woman for whom she found work as a maid was arrested after allegedly beating Ms Sumiati so severely she had broken bones and internal bleeding. She was accused of putting a hot iron to Ms Sumiati’s head and stabbing and mutilating her with scissors.

“There’s a greater awareness in cases with lots of media attention such as Sumiati’s that they [Saudi authorities] need to do something. A very, very small but encouraging sign,” stated Christoph Wilcke Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Ms Sumiati appeared in court last week to show the judge her scars.. [more]

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