Saudi Woman Jailed for Severe Abuse of Indonesian Maid

January 11, 2011 Updated: January 11, 2011

A Saudi woman was sentenced to three years in prison by the Summary Court in Medina on Sunday for brutal physical abuse of her Indonesian housemaid, according to the Saudi Gazette.

The 23-year-old maid, Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, was admitted to the hospital in November after her employer burned her head with a hot iron, cut her face with scissors, and broke her bones.

Sumiati’s case received attention from all over the world and incited Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to assist with the case by sending a high-level team to Saudi Arabia last year.

In recent years, cases of abuse of domestic workers from Southeast Asia have appeared frequently in Saudi Arabia, human rights groups have reported. Rights groups said that perpetrators have rarely been sent to jail for mistreating domestic helpers and at most are punished with a fine.

The two-hour hearing was attended by Sumiati, the defendant, the Indonesian consul, two lawyers, the prosecution’s representative, three translators, and a witness, the Saudi Gazette reported.

At the outset, Sumiati was not willing to face her employer in court, but eventually showed up last week to display her scars to the judge.

The maid’s employer was directly sent to the general prison after she was sentenced under a royal decree against human trafficking.