Asia-Pacific

Indonesia condemns Saudi maid abuse acquittal

Indonesian maid Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, is shown recovering in hospital in Medina in an image released by Indonesian website detik.com on 27 November 2010
Image caption Reports of Ms Sumiati's injuries sparked international outrage

An Indonesian diplomat in Saudi Arabia has criticised the overturning of a Saudi woman's conviction for beating and torturing her Indonesian maid.

Didi Wahyudi told the BBC the original three-year prison sentence had been seen as a landmark verdict, but now, he said, there was no example of a torturer being brought to justice.

Saudi Arabia has made no comment.

Tens of thousands of Indonesian women work in Saudi homes, and many complain of abuse by their employers.

In the past few days, two people have been arrested in Mecca in connection with the violent death of their Indonesian maid.

A number of cases of abuse of migrant domestic workers have come to light in Saudi Arabia over recent years.

However, perpetrators have rarely faced punishment greater than a fine.

'No justice'

Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, was admitted to hospital in November with broken bones and burns to her face and body.

Her case received worldwide attention, and prompted the Indonesian president to demand justice for her "torture".

The maid's 53-year-old female employer was sentenced to three years in jail in January by a court in the Saudi city of Medina.

She appealed against the sentence and was acquitted on Saturday after a judge deemed there was insufficient evidence.

Didi Wahyudi, from the Indonesian consulate in Saudi Arabia, told the BBC the verdict could have been a landmark.

"Had the first verdict not been overturned by the appeals court it would have been historic; the first time an Indonesian domestic worker was able to take their employer to court and then to prison.

"Since the sentence was not recognised and overturned, it means all the torturers are free. There is no evidence, there is no case and there is no example that the torturer could be brought to justice," Mr Wahyudi told BBC Indonesian.

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