x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Killed maid was abused regularly, witness tells court

The woman was abused for any mistakes she made, fellow household worker testifies.

ABU DHABI // A woman accused of beating her maid to death had a long history of mistreating her household staff, a court heard this morning.

During the second hearing of the case at the Criminal Court of First Instance, witnesses laid out detailed accounts of the events that led to the killing of SS, an Indonesian maid.

NS, the Emirati woman, and EH, an Emirati police officer, are accused of killing her and hiding evidence.

RY, an Ethiopian, said that during the 10 days that she worked as a maid for NS, she saw SS beaten almost daily.

"She always stripped her off her clothes when she beat her," RY said. "She once explained to me that she beat her because SS used to touch her daughter's private parts."

NS's daughter is eight years old. NS had filed several complaints about her daughter being molested at different police stations, but the complaints were against people other than SS.

In other instances, RY said, SS was forced to eat huge quantities of food or chili pepper if NS thought she made a mistake while cooking.

On the day of the incident, RY said EH had brought his Ethiopian maid to their house, and while she was cleaning with her, they heard screams.

"Then they called me to bring a cup of water, when I went I saw [SS] was completely naked and they were both beating her," she said.

She saw EH slap her face, and NS slam her into the wall.

"They told me to beat her as well. At first I refused. I said, 'Why should I beat her? She is a maid like me,' but NS forced me, so I just touched her lightly," she said.

According to police records, NS confessed that she hit SS with a frying pan repeatedly on her head to discipline her. RY said she did not see them hit SS with any object.

A while later, RY was called back to the room. EH had left, and she saw NS standing next to SS, who was lying on the floor with her clothes back on.

"She asked me to check if she was still alive. I put my hand under her nose to check if she was breathing. She wasn't. And I touched her hands: they were very cold, so I told her she is dead."

Then NS told her that if police asked any questions, she was to say she did not know what had happened, RY added.

The police officer who investigated the case said evidence showed both EH and NS were present at the crime scene, but did not indicate which one caused the death.

But both she and EH denied the beating in court.

hdajani@thenational.ae