Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Maid - Unholy Acts In The Holiest Place (7)

No Evidence Against Saudi Employer: Lawyer
Indonesian Maid Abuse Sentence Appealed
RIYADH (Khaled al-Shaei) The Appeals Court in Mecca issued on Monday a ruling to revoke the jail sentence imposed on a Saudi woman charged with torturing her Indonesian maid and to review the case on the grounds that evidence condemning the defendant was not strong enough.

The judge that passed the three-year jail sentence on a Saudi woman for the physical assault of her 23-year-old Indonesian maid, Sumiati Mustapa, had committed several mistakes that were enough to revoke the ruling, said the defendant’s lawyer Ahmed al-Rashed.

“We objected to the sentence at the Court of Appeals because several of its legal procedures were missing,” Rashed told AlArabiya.net. “And we demanded that my client be released on bail until the case is reviewed.”

Judge’s mistakes

Rashed explained that the verdict gave priority to public right over private right. When charging the defendant with human trafficking, the judge made the plaintiff and not the defendant give her testimony under oath while it should have been the other way round, and the verdict was handed down quickly.

“For these three reasons, the case will be re-opened, but in case the judge insists on the previous verdict, the case will be assigned to another judge.”

The judge, Rashed added, may have been affected by the media hype that accompanied the case along with the point of view of the Indonesian embassy in Riyadh.

“This is how he handled the case and I do not blame him, yet he based his verdict on civil and not religious laws and that is why we have the right to object to it.”

Rashed denied that his client had admitted to abusing and assaulting the maid and expressed his concerns over the imprisonment of the defendant, who is in her 60s, for almost two months without proof despite her health condition and the fact that she is on a wheel chair.

“My client denied committing the crime and the media reports that her son made on her are not true and not documented in the case files.”

According to Rashed, the defendant told the court that the maid has a psychological disorder and that she is the one who inflicted injuries upon herself, yet when the maid was referred to a psychiatrist and his report proved that she was sane, the judge considered this a proof that the defendant is guilty.

“The judge assumed that if the maid is sane, then it is her employer who did that to her because the maid works for her. He also passed the verdict in accordance with the human trafficking law and this does not apply to my client.”

Indonesian public opinion

Rashed accused the Indonesian government of trying to take advantage of the maid’s case in order to make financial gains.

“The Indonesian public opinion made Saudis seem like monsters in order to raise the fees for hiring Indonesian maids and this is what happened.”

On the other hand, spokesman of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Michael Tene objected to the initial sentence, which he considered very lenient when compared to the damages inflicted upon the maid.

Tene said that maid’s lawyers will appeal the verdict and explained that the torture to which Mustapa was subjected requires at least 15 years in jail.

Indonesian President Susilo Mambang Yudhoyono also issued a statement slamming the violence against Mustapa and dispatched Indonesian Minister of Women’s Affairs Linda Gumelar to follow up on the case.

Sumiati Mustapa’s case

The case of Indonesian maid Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa made headlines last year in both Saudi Arabia and Indonesia after the 23-year-old maid accused her employer, a widow in her 60s, of abusing her by beating and burning different parts of her body, especially her neck, left hand and upper lip, where she sustained severe injuries.

The employer denied the maid’s accusations and said Mustapa’s injuries were the result of a suicide attempt as she tried to jump from the balcony.

After standing trial, the employer was handed down three years in jail on charges of human trafficking.

After Rashed and the defendant’s other lawyer, Abdul Rahman Hajjar, filed an appeal, the Court of Appeals in Mecca ordered the General Court in Medina, which passed the initial jail verdict, to review the case.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid).

Source: Al-Arabiya - Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More about Sumiati Mustapa can be read here.

******

Shortly after Sumiati’s case came to light, another Indonesian maid,

36-year old Kikim Komalasari, from Mekarwangi village, in Haurwangi, Cianjur, was found tortured to death.

Her husband, a workshop officer in Sukabumi, was only home on weekends due to working outstation. 46-year old Maman Ali Nurjaman had, before her departure, forbid her from going to Saudi Arabia.

She was adamant of going.
She left home in June 2009, reaching Madinah on July 7, leaving behind not only the husband, but three children, 18-year old Yosi Nurmalasari, 10-year old Galih Permadi, and Fikri Agustian, 5, who has lung infection.
Since Kikim had already left, all Maman and his three children could do then, was to pray for her safety in the foreign land and be home again in Cianjur.

Nobody in the family then believed the youngest of fourteen siblings, was killed by her employer.

About a month after she worked in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, she called home, happy with her workload, although looking after five kids at a go.
She was happy to be able to travel, along with the employer's family during sightseeing.

In November 2009, she called again, enquiring about her children, husband and her mother, whose house is next to hers.
She assured her sister, Siti, who had twice received her call, that she was with a good employer.

Six months before Kikim was found dead, again, she mentioned of being with a good employer, when she called for the last time, enquiring about her children and husband's welfare.

****** 

Two days before the news of his wife's death reached him,

Maman felt the urge to clean the pictures of their wedding, which he had never done before.

Their eldest child, Yossi, dream of the mother returned home with a very big smile.
The dream was related to the father.
In November 19, 2010, the mother was found in a dump in the southern city of Abha.

Kikim’s neck was reportedly slashed and she sustained cuts to the rest of her body.
Signs of severe physical abuse in different parts of her dead body showed that she had been tortured to death.
Following Kikim’s death, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa summoned Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Indonesia Abdurrahman Mohammad Amen Al-Khayyat for the third time in a week.
As there are many Indonesian maids in the Kingdom, it stirred particular anger in Indonesia.

The two cases of the physical abuse suffered by the Indonesian maids, Kikim dead and Sumiati in a critical condition within one week triggered riots in Indonesia, and condemnation by the government in Jakarta.
The two tragedies had also promoted calls by Saudi activists to pressure their government to impose strict rules to thwart any future maltreatment to foreign workers in their country.
It further led to demands that Indonesian women no longer be allowed to work as maids in Saudi Arabia.

******

Kikim's sponsor is said to be Ali Said Al Gahtani from Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.
Her employer was held over her death, five days before the recent Eidul Adha, in the second week of November.

She angered him by her maltreatment of his ageing mother and hitting his handicapped children.
He used an aluminum bar to beat her for four consecutive days, and inflicted grievous harm on her, hoping she would provide better treatment for his mother.
She then fled his house to a nearby building under construction.

She sustained injuries from a fall onto building materials.
He found her at the site and wanted to take her to hospital, but she refused.
He then took her back to his house, locked her in a room hoping she will recover from her wounds but she did not.

After giving up hope that she would get better, he killed her with an iron tool and put her body in a garbage dumpster on a street.
She died from injuries, then thrown out of the house.
She was dumped in a waste bin, where police found the body in the southwestern province of Abha on Thursday, 5 Dzulhijjah 1431, November 11, 2010.
The body was taken to King Khaled Hospital for forensic examination, and the employer was arrested.

His wife was taken into custody for two weeks, pending investigations, and she was released after admitting that she knew what her husband was doing to the maid
She would stand trial for hiding information on her husband’s torture of the maid.
The Shariah Court is scheduled to look into her cover up of her husband’s actions, authorities added.

******

Insurance of 55 million rupiah had been surrendered to Kikim's husband and his brother, Atang Jaelani on November 20.

Her body, meanwhile, is still in the mortuary of Saudi Arabia.
The family is waiting anxiously to accord her proper burial in Indonesia. 

2 comments:

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Ummie, I feel really sad to read of such atrocities or maid bullying.
In the past I have seen, knew what some maids experienced from some employers, and really disgusts me to see them being treated like slaves.

Your this posting brings to light of how people, women especially leave home and family to seek work abroad.
And sometimes enduring these unspeakable acts.

Just like some office bosses, some employers behave like tyrants with their maids.
I had long ago 4 maids working for me. Never had problems....their only problem...was boredom, hardly any work, ha ha, as I was hardly home. All became TV addicts working for me.
You keep well, Lee.

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