A 61-year-old woman will spend seven years in jail for beating her maid and keeping her hungry until she starved to death in a villa, a court ruled on Monday.
The Emirati woman locked her Indonesian maid in her villa and repeatedly assaulted her and left her without food until she died in September last year, the court ruled.
The Dubai Court of First Instance found the woman liable for the victim’s death although she had pleaded not guilty.
Presiding judge Urfan Omar said the defendant will be jailed for seven years.
Records said the woman locked the windows and doors of her villa to prevent the maid from running away. Dubai Police’s forensic examiners confirmed that the victim died of malnourishment.
The woman’s lawyers asked the court to annul the forensic examination report because it is full of contradictions. They argued before presiding judge Omar that Dubai Police’s forensic examiner failed to carry out a proper examination and that the report was full of contradictions and discrepancies.
The forensic report mentioned that the victim’s bruises and injuries were not the cause of death, contended the lawyers.
“How could have she have died of starvation while the examiner mentioned that the maid had food in her stomach? That means she used to eat and had not been starved or left unfed. The examiner said the maid had two ulcers in her stomach, which affected her appetite, and she refused to eat. She is the one who was not eating although my client had food left in the kitchen and over the stove. She didn’t starve her. The suspect also did not deprive the victim of her freedom … the fences and wires with which she had surrounded her villa were used for protection from any external danger. My client lived in the villa alone with the maid … she fixed those wire fences and wires to protect her villa and not to prevent the maid from going out. Actually she had obtained a travel pass for the maid to take her with her abroad just a few days before the death … so why would she confine her or prevent her freedom?” contended one of the defence lawyers.
Another lawyer contended: “Prosecutors said starvation was the cause of death, based on the examiner’s report. The forensic examiner only carried out a physical examination … meanwhile a microscopic examination could have given a definite reason for the cause of death. The report is full of contradictions and lacks several technical issues.”
A police lieutenant testified that Dubai Police’s Operation Room was notified about a maid’s death last year.
“A police team was dispatched to the villa … the maid was fully dressed and had her veil on her head as well. She was on the floor despite the fact that there was a bed in the room. It was an unusual scene. The room was tidy and neat. The defendant claimed that the victim had fallen down and said she did not do anything wrong. We discovered that the refrigerator and all the cupboards in the kitchen were locked. When asked why she had kept the keys with her, the defendant said it was her food and she was free to do what she wanted. Upon opening the locked drawers and refrigerator, we discovered that the food had expired and inedible. When we checked on the suspect’s police records, we discovered that she had a criminal record of assaulting maids. Police records contained a special report, issued by the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, that highly recommended that the defendant be banned from sponsoring more maids because she frequently mistreated them,” said the lieutenant.
Monday’s ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.