By Arab News
Investigators are questioning an African maidservant for killing her Saudi sponsor in Jeddah on Tuesday by stabbing him several times while he was sleeping in his home.
Lt. Nawaf Al-Bouk, spokesman of Jeddah police, said security officers had taken all necessary evidence including thumb impressions from the site.
“We have handed over the pieces of evidence to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution,” Al-Bouk said, adding that the maid had admitted to killing her sponsor.
According to Al-Madinah Arabic daily, the woman had told the Human Rights Commission that she had no regrets in killing her Saudi sponsor. “I am also not afraid, because you cannot do anything to me except deporting me to my country,” the maid was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The body of the sponsor was buried at Faisaliya Graveyard, Jeddah, on Wednesday in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends. He was about 50 years old.
The maid told investigators that she had stabbed the man 20 times. Two of the man’s sons ran away when they heard the woman shouting and saw her destroying things in the house.
She admitted she had plans to kill the two children along with their father. One of them is receiving treatment at hospital after the woman hit him on his head with an iron. Security agents have found broken pictures of an African man in the maid’s room.
Al-Bouk said doctors confirmed that the woman was not mentally ill while committing the crime, adding that investigators are questioning her to find out the reasons that prompted her to kill the man.
Informed sources told Al-Watan Arabic daily that the public prosecutor would try to defeat any attempt from the part of the maid to prove she was having mental problems.
“Police have attached a medical report showing that the woman had no mental problems,” the paper said, quoting the sources.
The victim’s family said the woman had come to Jeddah on a maid visa about seven months ago, and that the family had not observed any strange behavior from her.
The murder took place a few days after the Saudi had undergone a surgical operation. After killing the man, the maid had turned to his 12-year-old child, who was able to run away.
The second child locked himself inside a room to save himself from the attacker. There was nobody else inside the house at the time of the incident.
The child, who ran away from home, informed his uncle living in the neighborhood about the incident. The uncle then called police, who cordoned off the house and arrested the woman who was hiding in a room.
A women’s delegation from the Human Rights Commission visited the woman in Briman prison. Jawaher Al-Nahari, a member of the delegation, emphasized the need to issue a quick verdict on such cases.
The incident has shocked people all over the Kingdom. There are about 1.5 million maids working in Saudi Arabia. They come from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
“We have to be very careful in selecting maids,” said Abdullah Al-Shahri, owner of a recruitment office. “We don’t recruit any maidservant except after studying their social and criminal backgrounds through agencies in their countries.”
Abdullah Ali, another Saudi engaged in recruitment of workers, said: “The maid should have informed Saudi authorities or her country’s mission in the Kingdom if there was any abuse or mistreatment, nonpayment of salary, or abuse of other rights.”
Marwan Barri Al-Sharief, consul general of Ethiopia, expressed his grief over the incident involving a maid who belongs to his country. He attributed such violence to mistreatment of maids. “We have taken a number of steps to prevent a repetition of such incidents. We have fixed the minimum age of a maid at 21, so that they will have enough awareness. We also provide them with necessary training.”
Speaking to Al-Madinah, he emphasized the need to treat maids humanely. “It’s essential for the benefit of both sides.” Sponsors should provide medical treatment to maids suffering from mental problems, Al-Sharief added.
The Eritrean Consulate in Jeddah received 44 maids suffering from mental problems.