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22 April 2024

Saudi human rights group backs tortured maid

By Staff

Saudi Arabia’s main human rights group has thrown its weight behind an Indonesian housemaid who was severely beaten up and tortured by her female employer, demanding Islamic Shariah punishment of the Saudi woman.

The Saudi Human Rights Agency denounced the torture of Sumiati Salan Mustapa and said it would appoint a lawyer to ensure the Saudi widow who tortured her with a hot iron will get the maximum punishment.

Saudi newspapers said on Tuesday that Human Rights team visited the 23-year-old housemaid at hospital in the central town of Madina on Sunday and asked doctors to supply a detailed report about her condition.

“The agency is following up the maid’s case and is in the process of appointing a lawyer to demand her rights,” it said in a statement carried by local papers.

“The Agency insists on the enforcement of Islamic Sharia laws against the woman who tortured the maid…the penalty must take into consideration laws concerning human trade in such a case….the Agency will continue to follow up this case until it obtains all rights for this maid…the criminal laws and justice in Saudi Arabia should not distinguish between a national and an expatriate.”

On Monday, newspapers quoted the maid as saying her employer, a widow,

told her she wanted to cure her from a mental illness when she used a hot iron on her, causing severe injuries to her head and body.

Doctors said the maid was still at hospital as she is suffering from burns on her body, cuts in her scalp and upper lip, a fractured pelvis and many wounds.

According to the papers, the 53-year-old widow confessed to the crime after her son told police during interrogation that his mother tortured the maid.

The unnamed widow has remained in detention pending trial while the maid has been in hospital, where she was visited on Saturday by Indonesia’s Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Linda Amalia Sari.

The incident has triggered angry reactions from Indonesian leaders and Alriyadh newspaper said the government of the largest Islamic country had already taken a decision to halt the travel of local housemaids to Saudi Arabia, where more than 500,000 Indonesian housemaids work.