x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Maids receive additional damages from Fujairah family in abuse case

An Egyptian housewife and her daughter convicted of physical assault pay their two housemaids an additional Dh23,600 in compensation.

FUJAIRAH // An Egyptian housewife and her daughter convicted of physical assault last year have paid their two housemaids an additional Dh23,600 (US$6,400) in compensation after more than a year of litigation. Last June, a Fujairah court ordered SA and her daughter KA, 16, to pay Dh4,000 for beating the Filipinas who worked in their home, Angeline Talledo, 27, and Roselle Lintuan, 21. The defendants were spared jail sentences.

The women appealed the award, and in March the court ordered the family to pay Ms Talledo Dh10,800 and Ms Lintuan Dh12,800 in additional compensation. However, the payments were not made until last month. A Filipina community leader, who asked not be identified, said both maids received the full amount on May 15. "They already sent the money to their families in the Philippines," she said. "We are still waiting for Roselle's sponsor to provide an airline ticket so both will be repatriated to Manila."

Ahmed Bajunaid, a Philippine consulate officer in Dubai, said it was difficult to monitor the working conditions of housemaids, who are confined to their employers' homes and therefore vulnerable to abuse. "We've had a few cases in the Northern Emirates, but we encourage abused women to file a complaint," he said. "We follow up their cases with the police, ensure they undergo a medical exam and file a case for compensatory damages."

The Fujairah case dates back to April 2008, when the maids fled their employers' home and were treated for broken bones, bruises and other injuries. The women told a Fujairah court the next month that SA and KA beat them repeatedly with sticks, belts and iron bars, breaking bones in their hands and injuring their thighs and backs. The women also refused to pay the maids' salaries of Dh700 per month.

Ms Talledo, who worked for the family for 11 months, and Ms Lintuan, who worked for them for 16 months, complained of long working hours and inadequate food. The family denied the charges to the police and the public prosecutor, and pleaded not guilty in court last year. They claimed Ms Talledo was injured when she broke a bathroom window fleeing the house. They added that the maids refused to accept their salaries and asked the family to keep the money until they returned to the Philippines.

Libran Cabactulan, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE, called the family's treatment of both maids inhumane, and the Philippine consulate in Dubai wrote to Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed, the Ruler of Fujairah, about the case. rruiz@thenational.ae