Ethiopian woman in United Arab Emirate tortured and starved to death

June 14, 2013

khaleejtimes – A woman allegedly tortured her two housemaids, beat them regularly and denied them food and medical treatment, which later resulted in the death of one of them, a court heard.

The victim weighed just 37kg at the time of her death and a friend of the woman, who testified against her, said that the suspect tried to bribe one maid with money so she would not talk to the police.

The 45-year-old Emirati, R.A., who works as a public relations officer, allegedly subjected her Ethiopian and Filipina maids to daily beatings as well as physical and mental torture, with both maids sustaining severe injuries, leading to infection because of not providing medical treatment. This, along with other factors, led to the Ethiopian maid’s death.

R.A’s husband, a 42-year-old policeman, A.A., allegedly watched as his wife physically abused the maids and deprived them of their freedom by locking them up in the bathroom. He tightly secured his villa in Nad Al Hamar area so the two maids could not escape.

The couple denied in the Court of First Instance charges of illegal imprisonment, deprivation of freedom with the use of force, physical and mental torture, leading to death, and causing bodily harm. However, the Public Prosecution is seeking life imprisonment for the duo.

The Filipina maid, 29, who survived the torture, which lasted for a couple of months, told the prosecutor that her employer used to beat her and deny her food. She also forced her to drink a mix of detergents when she was not satisfied with her cleaning duties.

The maid said that R.A. would threaten her with jail and intimidate her by saying that her and her husband had respectable jobs and connections with the police and immigration.

On several occasions, the two maids were brought into the villa and locked in a bathroom, where R.A. had a camera fixed to the wall so she could watch them while she was away from the villa.

She would also threaten to circulate nude pictures of them which she took after forcing them to take their clothes off.

The Filipina also claimed that R.A. would assault them and bang their heads against the wall while cleaning the house.  R.A. fed the deceased only a piece of onion, sugar and salt for five days.

After losing consciousness, due to the constant beatings and malnutrition, the couple were forced to feed the victim better.

When the victim’s injuries became infected, R.A. refused to take her to a hospital as she was afraid she might be held accountable for the abuse.

A maid of the employer’s friend testified to the beatings and said that she herself was subjected to abuse by R.A. She claimed the latter threw detergent on her face and forced her to sniff her underwear to humiliate her as she laughed.

R.A.’s Emirati friend, a 35-year-old manager, testified that she saw R.A. beating the victim with a stick and that the latter was often bruised. She said that she heard R.A., on January 16, beg the maid not to speak to the police and offered her money and anything she wanted.

A forensic expert said the victim weighed only 37kg when she died. Torture, malnutrition and negligence of injuries all contributed to her death. Her blood sample contained traces of a pesticide.