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
0

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.


Italian hostage freed after 3 years in Syria returns home

Updated 23 May 2019
0

Italian hostage freed after 3 years in Syria returns home

  • The man who disappeared traveled to Turkey in October 2016
  • An official said the man was kidnapped by a criminal gang

MILAN: Italy’s defense minister says an Italian who had been held hostage in Syria for three years has been released and returned to Italy.

Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta late Wednesday confirmed Alessandro Sandrini’s arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport and thanked Italian intelligence services for their role in his liberation. Details were not disclosed.

Sandrini, who is in his early 30s, disappeared after traveling to Turkey in October 2016, and wasn’t heard from for over a year. In July 2018, a dramatic video showed Sandrini wearing an orange jumpsuit flanked by masked men brandishing automatic weapons, appealing to Italy to help free him as quickly as possible.

A local government in Syria affiliated with the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Hayat Tahir-al Sham said he had been kidnapped by a criminal gang.