Slavery By Any Other Name

A 25-year-old maid who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will leave behind most of her fingers and toes and part of her right foot when she is repatriated to Indonesia. In addition to the amputations, necessitated by gangrene, several teeth had been knocked out and she is in danger of losing an eye as a result of severe beatings.

Nour Miyati was wheeled into the hospital on March 19th by her employer, Fahd Naji Al-Dossary. The attending physician said she arrived in “critical condition.” Ms. Miyati reported that Al-Dossary and his wife, who also participated in her abuse, complained of the smell of her gangrene — a result of being tightly bound and stashed in a bathroom for a month — and made her sleep outside the house.

Miyati, who hails from Sumbawa Island in central Indonesia, had worked for 18 months for the Al-Dossary family for a monthly salary of SR600 – money she never received. “The first time she asked for her salary, that’s when it started,” according to an Indonesian attaché.

Al-Dossary has been charged, though he is not in jail. In Saudi Arabia “there is the public right and there is the personal right.” Thus, since the employer is in the military, he is not in jail thought he not permitted to leave the area of his work. His wife was questioned and released.

What is surprising is the recent intervention by Crown Prince Abdullah. Today’s Arab News announced that Abdullah had instructed health officials to transfer Ms. Miyati to King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center. Abdullah even sent the Health Minister over to check on her. They both declared her experience at the hands of her employers “disgusting”.

Meanwhile, Indonesian officials have revoked the licenses of 28 Indonesian labor exporting companies for worker neglect. While claiming such abuse is rare, the Indonesian Embassy’s Labor Attaché, M. Sugiarto, admitted that 853 cases of torture were reported to his office in 2004.

Remember that this case will be tried by Sharia Law. Here are the important factors to consider:

1. This maid is a woman, so any compensation for injuries would be half that of a man.
2. This woman is an infidel, so any compensation would be half that for an infidel man.

In other words, her pain and suffering aren’t worth much in Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Abdullah is covering his back here. He isn’t covering hers.

5 thoughts on “Slavery By Any Other Name

  1. Sharia is ancient Bedou desert mores, and the sooner Islam rids itself of it, the sooner it will be regarded as civilized and not some kind of horrific anachronism.

  2. Irene–you’re right.

    Don’t know what I was thinking since Indonesia is 90 percent Islamic, the rest Buddhist and Christian. (The neo-Wahhabi movement is popular there but I don’t know if that extends to her island)…

    I probably conflated her and the earlier woman from the Phillipines, for which I did the original figure of her “worth.”

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