A Filipina housemaid in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) survived torture and starvation at the hands of her employers but her Ethiopian colleague did not.
The couple faced the Court of First Instance for the alleged abuse as prosecutors sought life imprisonment for them, according to a report on the Khaleej Times news site on Tuesday.
Charges lodged against the couple included illegal imprisonment, deprivation of freedom with the use of force, physical and mental torture leading to death, and causing bodily harm, the report said.
However, the couple — a 45-year-old public relations officer and her 42-year-old policeman husband — denied the charges against them.
A forensic expert said the Ethiopian maid weighed only 37 kg when she died, while her blood samples contained traces of a pesticide, even as the suspect allegedly tried to bribe one maid with money so she would not talk to the police.
Both the Ethiopian and Filipina sustained severe injuries leading to infection.
On the other hand, the court was told the Emirati policeman merely watched while his wife abused the maids and locked them up in the bathroom.
He allegedly secured his villa in Nad Al Hamar area so the two maids could not escape.
The Filipina maid, 29, said the torture lasted a couple of months.
She told the prosecutor her employer would beat her and deny her food, and even force her to drink a mix of detergents when she did not like her cleaning.
Also, she said the employer would threaten her with jail and claim she and her husband had connections with the police and immigration.
She would also allegedly threaten to circulate nude pictures of the two. She had taken photos of the two after forcing them to strip.
The Filipina added the Emirati would bang their heads against the wall while they were cleaning the house.
She added the Emirati fed the Ethiopian only a piece of onion, sugar and salt for five days, and fed her better only after the Ethiopian lost consciousness.
But when the Ethiopian's injuries became infected, the employer would not take her to a hospital for fear the abuse may be discovered.
The Khaleej Times report said a maid of the employer's friend testified she herself was abused by the employer, who threw detergent on her face and forced her to sniff her underwear.
Even the employer's friend, a 35-year-old manager, testified seeing the employer beating the victim with a stick.
However, last Jan. 16, she said she heard the employer beg the maid not to speak to the police and offered her money. - VVP, GMA News