x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Maid accuses homeowner of abuse and rape

A 48-year-old Arab man repeatedly raped and beat his 22-year-old Ethiopian maid over four months, a court hears.

DUBAI // A 48-year-old Arab man repeatedly raped and beat his 22-year-old Ethiopian maid over four months, a court heard. In a written affidavit presented to the Dubai Court of Cassation by the Public Prosecutor's Office on Sunday, the maid's ordeal was described in graphic detail. It tells of her numerous attempts to seek help from the company she worked for, only to be accused of fabricating her story to return to her home country.

According to the affidavit, made available to the media yesterday, the woman, identified as FH, arrived in the UAE six months ago after being hired by an Ajman company that provides domestic helpers to families. The company assigned her to the defendant, identified as AB, who has an apartment in Dubai, where he lives alone, and a home in Abu Dhabi that he shares with his wife and seven children.

According to her statement, the day she was first dropped off at the Dubai apartment, he told her to sit on his thigh to look at photos of his children on his mobile phone. When she refused, he is accused of forcing her to. He then asked whether they could sleep together, and when she refused, he drove her to Abu Dhabi to meet his wife and family and to begin working. AB brought the maid to Dubai a month later to finalise her residency permit. The maid said that after returning from the medical check-up, she was in the living room when AB called her to his bedroom. There she found him wearing only an undershirt and boxer shorts.

He is accused of demanding that she undress, and when she refused, grabbing her by the hair, slapping her face several times, removing her clothes and raping her. In her statement, the maid said she was afraid to scream for help because she thought he would beat her some more. AB drove her back to Abu Dhabi that day. A month later, he brought FH back to Dubai, telling her he would open a bank account for her, but beat and raped her again, the charges say. The next day he drove her back to Abu Dhabi.

Three months later AB brought the maid, his wife and seven children to Dubai. The morning after their arrival in Dubai, the defendant took his wife and children to the mall, where he left them, then returned to the apartment alone and beat and raped FH, the charges say. Afterward, he went to the mall and brought his family back to the apartment. When the family returned to Abu Dhabi and AB was alone in Dubai, FH called the maid service office in Ajman to report what had been happening to her. According to the affidavit, the female owner of the office shouted at FH, accused her of fabricating the story to return to her country, then hung up on her.

A month later, AB told the woman that he was firing her, and that she would be going home. She packed up her belongings and was taken to the Dubai apartment. While there, the defendant began drinking alcohol, then beat and raped her again, the charges say. FH eventually contacted the Ethiopian Embassy, which called the Dubai Police. Investigators later arrested AB. He told the court that he did slap the maid lightly a few times, but that any relations between them were consensual. He added that he loved FH and intended to marry her.

AB remains in police custody; the next court hearing is scheduled for Monday. ealghalib@thenational.ae