Hospital fears for abused maid’s life
By MUHAMMAD AL-SULAMI | ARAB NEWS
Published: Feb 27, 2010 11:39 PM Updated: Feb 27, 2010 11:39 PM
JEDDAH: Erfan & Bagedo Hospital in Jeddah has rejected the request of Safa police to hand over an Indonesian maid, who has been receiving treatment at the hospital, to her sponsor.
The maid was admitted to hospital on Dec. 20, 2009 after she fell from the third floor of her sponsor’s apartment building.
The maid, Sariti Haiti, told hospital authorities that she had been tortured by her sponsor. She was brought to hospital by Red Crescent officials with injuries and bruises on different parts of her body. Initial reports said the maid’s backbone and neck were broken after falling from the building.
Doctors at the hospital observed that the maid had been beaten up and tortured and they found signs of torture on her back in the form of burns and signs of lashes. They also detected internal bleeding and an injury to her head. The treatment bill reached SR120,000.
Dr. Ahmed Erfan, deputy general manager of the hospital, said the maid was working for a Saudi woman. “We contacted her sponsor to pay the bill. A man responded from the other side and acknowledged the maid worked for them but refused to pay the bill,” he said.
The hospital then contacted the Indonesian Consulate, which refused to accept the hospital’s letter by hand. It had to send the letter then by fax. After a week a consulate representative came to inspect the condition of the maid but he did not come back again. “After two months we wrote a letter to Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed, who promised he would follow up the matter,” he said.
Last week the hospital received a letter from the Safa police director asking them to hand over the maid to her sponsor. “Fearing for the maid’s life, we placed her in the psychiatric section, which is guarded round the clock. We also informed the National Society for Human Rights which told us not to hand the woman over,” he said.
Dr. Erfan expressed surprise that the consulate was not cooperating with the hospital. He said the hospital would follow the instructions of the governor. “We are not bothered about the bill but we are very concerned about the maid’s health,” he added. The Human Rights Commission said it would discuss the matter with the relevant authorities. The maid came to Saudi Arabia in August 2009.
“After a month her woman sponsor started mistreating her,” the maid said. The maid said the sponsor used to throw her food in the bin when there was any delay in completing her work. The sponsor also allegedly cut part of her hair in the front in order to prevent her from going out and threatened her that she would cut off all her hair.
The maid said the sponsor accused her of stealing her gold. “She took me in front of her sons and removed all my clothes to check my body in order to find out whether I had kept that gold under the clothing,” she said. The maid added her sponsor had also asked her to leave the house after giving her the passport but she did not leave, fearing the woman would tell police that she had run away.
“After some time, the sponsor said the taste of tea I was preparing had changed as she accused me of urinating in the tea. I told her that it is haram and I would never do it. She also forced me to drink the urine of her children in front of them,” she said. The maid said the sponsor had beaten her head with a frying pan on Dec. 19, 2009, causing a deep injury on her head. “My sponsor asked me to cover my head and remove the blood from the ground. She threatened me that she would cut my body into pieces if I did not follow her orders,” she said.
“I was afraid that she would kill me one day,” the maid said, adding that she jumped from the apartment to escape from the sponsor. She did not remember anything except the guard told her not to jump from the building.
© 2010 Arab News