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Bizzare plea in murder trial

DUBAI (SE): A 35-year-old woman and citizen of the United Arab Emirates is currently on trial for the murder of a Filipino domestic worker who died in December last year.

Gulf News reported on March 1 that the woman had tortured the domestic worker from the Comoros Islands over a period of months, brutally kicking and punching her, as well as beating her with bamboo sticks and administering low voltage electric shocks to her body.

The woman has been charged with first degree murder, but in a statement to the judges on February 28, the opening day of her trial, she said that she was innocent and could not possibly be the cause of death, as the beatings took place some time ago.

“I did not cause her death. How is that? I beat her a long time ago before the incident… how could that have happened? I am not guilty,” the woman told the court.

However, the judges dismissed her plea, noting that after the beatings, which witnesses testified went on for months, she denied the domestic worker medical assistance and treatment.

A 19-year-old woman, who also worked in the house, testified that her employer constantly beat the Filipino woman and an Egyptian neighbour testified that continuous screams could be heard coming from the home of the charged woman and a voice pleading and begging to be spared.

There are an estimated 18 million foreign workers in the Persian Gulf countries out of a total population of 42 million. Often they are not allowed to change jobs, which leaves them vulnerable to extreme abuse.

Foreign workers mostly come from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, The Philippines and Ethiopia. In the United Arab Emirates, foreigners make up around 85 per cent of the workforce.

It is estimated that in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the Emirates there are combined total of 2.4 million migrant domestic workers. 


Saudi Arabia has recently increased the number by 40 per cent and Kuwait by 66 per cent.

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