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28 February 2024

Indonesian maid shows wounds to Saudi court


An Indonesian house maid who has accused her female Saudi employer of stabbing, beating and burning her appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday and showed her wounds, an Indonesian official said.

Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, "showed the judge her injuries, especially her head," said Diddi Wahyudi, an Indonesian consular official in Jeddah.

The Saudi woman was arrested after allegedly beating Sumiati so severely as to break bones and cause internal bleeding, putting a hot iron to her head and stabbing and slashing her with scissors.

During the hearing, the woman "denied everything, saying that the maid has beaten herself," Wahyudi told AFP by telephone.

But "the judge said that everybody knows from these pictures that (the maid) must have been beaten by someone" when he was showed photographs of Sumiati's wounds, Wahyudi added.

The Indonesian official also said the Saudi woman's son has earlier testified against his mother.

Wayhudi said the next hearing was set for a week later without specifying a fixed date.

The case, being heard in the city of Medina, had been postponed on December 28 because the maid was not yet ready to confront the woman, Wahyudi said at the time.

"Sumiati is not psychologically ready to appear in court."

Saudi Arabia's labour ministry said it was sorry about the case, but called it an isolated incident.

In November, Wahyudi said Sumiati had undergone surgery, but that she would need to be operated on once more.

Wahyudi said she was still seeking her pay and other benefits from several months of employment in Saudi Arabia.

"She has nothing, she does not even have a single abaya," Wahyudi said of the black cloak that all women in Saudi Arabia must wear in public.

"She wants her employer to be punished severely," he added.

He said the Indonesian government was still pursuing the case of another maid, Kikim Komalasari, whose dead body was found near Abha earlier in November after being beaten.

Two people, her employers, have been arrested in that case, Wahyudi said.