Anger as Malaysian cleared of murdering Indonesian maid

In this file photo taken on February 17, 2018, Petronela Koa cries next to the coffin containing her niece Adelina Sau, a domestic helper who died in Malaysia, during its arrival at Kupang airport in East Nusa Tenggara. (AFP)
Updated 23 April 2019
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Anger as Malaysian cleared of murdering Indonesian maid

  • Allegations of maid abuse, ranging from overwork to beatings and sex attacks, are a regular diplomatic flashpoint between the Southeast Asian neighbors

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian woman has reportedly been cleared of murdering her Indonesian maid, who was allegedly tortured and forced to sleep outside with a dog, with activists Monday criticizing the “shocking” decision.
Adelina Sau died in February last year after being found outside her employer’s home on the northern Malaysian island of Penang, with her head and face swollen and covered in wounds.
Many Indonesian maids work in more affluent Malaysia and tales of abuse are common, but the horrific nature of Sau’s case generated headlines and sparked diplomatic tensions between the neighbors.
Her employer, S. Ambika, was charged with murder — an offense that carries a mandatory death sentence in Malaysia — shortly after the 21-year-old was rescued and died in hospital.
But the High Court in Penang dropped the murder charge against her last week, local media reported, without saying why.
Prominent Malaysian human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen called the decision “shocking and unacceptable.”
“This was one of the most public and harrowing abuse cases ever recorded and yet the attorney-general’s chambers somehow saw fit to drop the charge,” Paulsen, a member of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, told AFP.
Steven Sim, an MP from the area where Sau died, said the court decision was “as tragic as the death of Adelina.”
Sim said he had contacted the attorney-general, Tommy Thomas, who had vowed to look into the case.
In Indonesia, Wahyu Susilo, executive director of NGO Migrant Care, condemned the acquittal and described it as “far from justice.”
He said the employer may have been cleared due to a failure to get key witnesses, such as Sau’s parents, to testify at the trial, and called on Jakarta to lodge a protest.
Her murder caused anger in Indonesia, with the foreign minister branding it unacceptable.
Allegations of maid abuse, ranging from overwork to beatings and sex attacks, are a regular diplomatic flashpoint between the Southeast Asian neighbors.


US says anyone who allows Iran tanker Adrian Darya I to dock risks sanctions

Updated 21 August 2019
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US says anyone who allows Iran tanker Adrian Darya I to dock risks sanctions

  • Greece says it received no docking request from tanker
  • Iran says Iranian court to hear case of detained UK tanker

UNITED NATIONS: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says anyone who “touches,” supports or allows an Iranian tanker carrying crude oil to dock risks US sanctions.
He told reporters Tuesday that if an Iranian supertanker that left Gibraltar on Sunday again heads to Syria, “we’ll take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that.”
Greece said earlier in the day that it had not had a request from the Adrian Darya 1, the vessel at the center of a dispute between Iran and the United States, to dock at one of its ports, as Washington warned Greece against helping the vessel.
The tanker, formerly called Grace 1, left Gibraltar on Sunday. Ship-tracking data on Tuesday showed the vessel was heading toward the Greek port of Kalamata on the southern coast of the Peloponnese and was scheduled to arrive next Monday.
“We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States,” Pompeo told reporters at the United Nations.
He said that if the tanker’s oil was sold, the revenue would be used by elite units of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. “We want to deny them the resources to continue their horrific terror campaign,” Pompeo said.
The tanker is carrying about 2 million barrels of oil.
“The vessel is cruising at low speed and there is still no formal announcement that it will arrive at Kalamata. The Merchant Marine Ministry is monitoring the matter along with Greece’s Foreign Ministry,” a Greek Shipping Ministry spokesman said.

The Iranian flag flies on oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored in Gibraltar, Spain, on August 18, 2019. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

The ship, which is now sailing under an Iranian flag, was released from detention off Gibraltar after a five-week standoff over whether it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.
Soon after the detention order was lifted, a US federal court ordered the seizure of the vessel on different grounds, but that petition was rejected by Gibraltar.
Tehran said any US move to seize the vessel again would have “heavy consequences.” The United States in turn has also conveyed its “strong position” to the Greek government over the tanker.
Washington wants the tanker detained on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which it has designated a terrorist organization.
The European Union, of which Greece is a member, bans oil sales to Syria and the United States has sanctions on Iranian oil sales.

Impact on detained UK tanker?
The fate of the Adrian Darya 1 could also have a bearing on that of a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz leading into the Gulf two weeks after British Royal Marine commandos seized what was then known as the Grace 1.
Speculation has mounted that the Stena Impero could be freed once the Adrian Darya 1 had set sail, although Iranian officials have denied any link between the two cases.
Deputy Transport Minister Mohammad Rastad said the case of Stena Impero had been submitted to a court in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported, without giving a date when it would be heard.
The handling of the Adrian Darya 1 will be a major foreign policy test for Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a pro-Western conservative elected in July.
Any efforts to assist the tanker could be construed as providing material support to a US-designated foreign terrorist organization, which has immigration and potential criminal consequences, a US State Department official said.
A Greek diplomatic source cited by the state Athens News Agency said the country was in communication with the United States on the matter, but did not say what Greece would do.
“(The US) position on the specific issue is known and has been communicated not only to Greece but other states and ports in the Mediterranean,” the source said.
It is standard practice for a vessel to give 48 hours’ notice before docking at a port, Greek officials said.
It was not clear where the ship might head if Greece refused it permission to dock.
Cyprus, farther east, has bitter experience from seizing Iranian products destined for Syria. Munitions it confiscated exploded in 2011, causing the island’s worst peacetime disaster.