News / Middle East

Indonesia: Saudi Sentence of Indonesian Maid's Abuser Too Lenient

Indonesian workers in Jakarta shout slogans during a protest against the abuse of Sumiati, an Indonesian worker in Saudi Arabia. (file photo)
Indonesian workers in Jakarta shout slogans during a protest against the abuse of Sumiati, an Indonesian worker in Saudi Arabia. (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +

Indonesia has criticized a Saudi court for sentencing a Saudi woman to three years in prison for physically abusing an Indonesian domestic worker, calling the punishment too lenient.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Wednesday Jakarta believes justice has not been served in the case of the abused Indonesian maid, 23-year-old Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa.

He says an Indonesian government lawyer will appeal Sunday's ruling by the court in Medina, which sentenced Sumiati's Saudi employer to three years in prison, rather than the maximum term of 15 years. The Saudi woman, Zanuba Farooq As-Shawaf, was convicted under a new royal decree to combat human trafficking.

Sumiati was hospitalized in November with severe injuries she said were inflicted by her employer, including burns on her head from a hot iron and cuts to her face. The Indonesian made her first appearance in court earlier this month to show the Saudi judge her scars from the assault.

The Saudi government has apologized for the abuse of Sumiati, calling it an isolated incident. The case outraged many Indonesians. Human rights groups say it also highlights the frequent mistreatment of Asian domestic workers in the Middle East.

New York-based right group Human Rights Watch told U.S. network CNN Wednesday the Saudi court ruling appears to be the kingdom's first prison sentence for the abuse of a migrant worker and is a "small step in the right direction."

HRW's senior Middle East researcher Christopher Wilcke says he believes Saudi authorities put Sumiati's employer on trial because of the international attention surrounding the case. He says this shows that a "shift has taken place" in the kingdom regarding physical abuses of migrant domestic workers.

But, Wilcke says Saudi Arabia has not done enough to stop employers from committing other violations of labor rights. He says these include forcing domestic servants to work long hours, refusing to pay them and not giving them a day off.

In another case, an Indonesian maid was found dead in Saudi Arabia in November, with her body placed in a dumpster. London-based group Amnesty International has said it fears the two cases are only the "tip of the iceberg" and reflect a "systematic abuse" of women employed as domestic servants in the Gulf.

Amnesty has called on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to immediately remove what it calls the "legal climate of impunity" that allows employers to "exploit, enslave, abuse, assault and injure" their domestic workers.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid