Saudi Arabia: Court grants blood money to dead maid’s family

Arab News
A Saudi court has authorized the payment of SR200,000 in blood money to the family of Suryati Bint Dulbari Nurisman, an Indonesian maid in her 20s the authorities say was tortured and beaten to death by a Saudi housewife.
“This is a case of brutal murder because Dulbari’s sponsor and his wife have been periodically beating her,” said Wishnu Krisnamurthi, a spokesman of the Indonesian Embassy. Krisnamurthi said he appreciated the role of Saudi officials in Al-Ahsa, Eastern Province, where the housemaid used to work for the family of a Saudi national. (The names of the Saudi and his wife are being withheld as per Arab News policy.) “If Saudi authorities investigate and punish offenders quickly like what happened in this case, then these kinds of cases would not recur as they will serve as deterrents,” said Krisnamurthi.
He said a medical examination of the body showed signs of physical abuse and a wound that had gone septic before the woman died. The body, which was covered in blood, was sent back to Indonesia for burial.

The family members of the deceased live in the highland city of Bandung, the capital of West Java province.

Krisnamurthi said 81 Indonesian maids have been confirmed dead of various causes this year, compared to 156 confirmed deaths in 2008. No figures are available on how many of these deaths are a result of abuse on the part of employers. Most Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia work as housemaids.

The phenomenon of abuse of domestic servants puts a strain on otherwise cordial relations between Saudi Arabia and countries that supply the most manual domestic labor.

A Saudi employer whose wife tortured the family’s Indonesian housemaid to death was sentenced last month to nine months in prison for failing to intervene and save the maid’s life. The man has already served six months in prison awaiting trial, while his wife, who has been in an Abha prison for the last 11 months, was scheduled for sentencing on Sunday by a court in the southern city of Khamis Mushayt. The maid’s family has accepted blood money.

In another case recently, the brutality of attacks on four Indonesian maids in the Saudi town of Aflaj shocked even the most hardened observers in the Kingdom. Accused of practicing black magic on the son of their Saudi employers, these domestic helpers were beaten over a period of two days. This led to the deaths of two maids.

16 June 2009

By M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan

Source: Arab News