JEDDAH, 23 March 2005 — A 25-year-old Indonesian woman who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will have several of her fingers, toes and part of her right foot amputated because of gangrene after being tied up for a month in a bathroom by her Saudi sponsor, who also apparently beat her severely, injuring her eye and knocking several of her teeth out.
The reason given was that the woman, who worked as a maid, had not finished cleaning the house. The Indonesian government is demanding justice as Riyadh police continue to investigate this disgusting crime.
The story began to unfold Saturday when Nour Miyati was taken to the Riyadh Medical Complex (Shumaysi) after her sponsor decided to get her medical help for the gangrene that ensued from being tightly bound during her monthlong bathroom imprisonment.
A physician said she was rolled into the hospital in critical condition by her sponsor. According to the preliminary medical report, there were strong marks, almost burns, on her ankles and wrists and severe contusion and bleeding in one eye, broken teeth, and evidence of being severely beaten on various parts of her body.
When she was rushed to surgery, doctors found gangrene in her limbs. It will prompt amputation of fingers on both hands, part of her right foot and toes on her left foot in order to save her life.
Bilal Fathallah at the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh told Arab News that they were contacted by one of the nurses at the hospital after which they visited the patient.
Nour Miyati told Fathallah that her sponsor punished her because she had not finished her housecleaning completely. She also told the official that her hands and feet had been tied up and that she had been imprisoned in a bathroom for a month. She said her sponsor warned her not to talk to police or embassy officials.
The medical report showed that there had been no sexual assault.
An official at Al-Suwaidi police station said the investigation is ongoing. He said if a connection between the accused and the crime is established the case will be referred to public prosecution and the accused would be kept at his workplace which is a military sector because he is a military employee.
An Indonesian Embassy official said they are waiting for the investigation to be completed. “We are waiting for justice including her being paid all due her for the year and two months that she worked because her sponsor has not paid all her salary,” the official said.
Lawyer Dr. Bassim Alim said according to the law, there is the public right and there is the personal right. The former is that the accused is imprisoned at the same location of his work because he is in the military.
The latter, the personal right is that he pays for the damages for the amputation and other physical damage determined and assessed by the judge.
M. Sukiarto of the Indonesian Embassy noted earlier this year that a total of 2,000 housemaids have been repatriated to Indonesia so far this year, with many alleging maltreatment, nonpayment of wages or physical abuse by their sponsors. At that time, the Indonesian government called on the Kingdom to provide more protection for Indonesian female workers in addition to measures already in place.