Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East

Return to research Posted on Nov 19 2010

This week, two cases of severe abuse of Indonesian maids by their Saudi sponsors have surfaced, one of them ending in death and the other in serious injuries.

The first case, of 23-year-old Sumiati BT Salan Mustapa was first reported by the Saudi Gazette. This initial report mentioned that Mustapa arrived in Saudi-Arabia in July to work for a family in Madina. On November 6th Mustapa was admitted to a private hospital in Madina injured from head to toe in an unconscious state. The private hospital was unable to treat her serious injuries and she was transferred to the King Fahd hospital. A worker there told the Gazette that Mustapa’s body “was burned on many places, both legs were almost motionless, some parts of her skin on her head were removed and strong marks of old wounds were on her body including skin loss on lips and head, a fractured middle finger and a cut near an eye.” Mustapa also showed signs of malnutrition or excessive blood loss.

Sumiati BT Salan Mustapa
Didi Wahyudri, Indonesia’s citizen protection consul in Saudi Arabia told CNN that Mustapa was abused from the first day of her employment and that she was beaten badly. According to the Al-Watan newspaper report, “In room 365 at the orthopedic ward in King Fahd Hospital in Madina, Mustapa looked deformed as if her scalp had been peeled off….burns are scattered all over her lean body including her upper lip and fingers…she is bandaged all over and could hardly move or speak.”

Report in the online paper Al-Saudia said today (Friday) that Mustapa’s female employer was arrested in connection with the case. According to the Madina police chief, three members of the family were involved in the torture.

While the Saudi regime maintains that this is an “individual case” and that “the media have exaggerated the report”, a new story coming from the Saudi town of Abha puts this into question. According to CNN, on November 11th the body of an Indonesian maid, Kikim Komalasari, was found with signs of serious physical abuse on the streets of Abha. According to Indonesian officials, the employer suspected in the attacks was arrested by Saudi authorities.

These stories of abuse are of the most extreme kind migrant workers endure in Saudi-Arabia, but abuse is not rare. When employers are given unrestricted powers over their workers in the Saudi sponsorship system, this creates an opportunity for abuse. Migrant workers cannot change sponsors even in cases of abuse, but the sponsors can have the workers repatriated at will, or prevent them from leaving the country. Domestic workers are also excluded from the protection Saudi Arabia’s labor laws offer. This abuse happens because little is done to prevent it.

Abusive employers, Housemaids, Research, Saudi Arabia

38 thoughts on “Indonesian maid tortured in Saudi Arabia, another beaten to death

  1. This is barbaric and considering the Holy Prophet brought Islam from that part of the world ignorance and their laws neeed repealing badly. I feel ashamed to as muslim that someone from that part to be so cruel to some helpless poor human being who came to their country some money to live or support her family should be treated like animals. The hanging sentence for drug peddling is implemented sraight away this should be put on the same catagory. All worst stories alway come from that part. Why does not the King internenes in these kind of matters. I want the Amerians who run that country also bring this to notice of Human Rights and do something toextract this in humane behaviour from that country instead controling the middle powers with their huge army there. This message is for all those who have a part in this. (without prejudice)

  2. JECKHALLA says:


  3. Smack41 says:

    Saudi Arabia: “Our” ally (USA). WTF?

  4. abdul rahim says:

    in this matter islam is not the main topic,but the person who did a certain crime that maybe not in normal mind,since i become a muslim i learn and embrace the true islam which is humble and peace and what prophet muhamad teach us as what ALLAH SUBHANAWATA ALLAH told him,regarding this incident i am shame on you as you claim yourself as muslim coz the true teaching of islam is peace,humanity and fear to ALLAH SUBHANA WATA ALLAH

  5. rainesr says:

    I have been to Saudi and saw firsthand people like this get beaten. It is common and not an individual case. Another common punishment is to deny water to grounds workers and other workers doing work outside in the 120 degree Fahrenheit desert.

    Traveling in the Middle East was just a series of unfortunate examples of how Islam is not a religion of peace.

  6. Citizen says:

    At least its muslims killing muslims in this case. Go for it.

  7. Osayi says:

    @jeckhalla: are you for real? this crime is unspeakable and it is a total shame you could use religion to justify or cover this up. your coiondemnation of this would have spoke volumes. i am sure you dont know better.

  8. Islam’s true translation is to submit to God. I think these guys are real muslims. They submit to god, and make others submit to them. Jesus, I wish I we could just wipe these monsters off the face of the earth and just take all their oil. No more bullshit, then.

  9. Lanka says:

    Any how we must stop this barbaric abuse by people in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Western countries where are why are you silence just because of oil shame on you we must stop this uneducated uncivilized people attacking there servant this is only happen in middle east countries Asian maids working every wear but they abuse only in middle east

  10. it is a very disgusting news. i wonder why the government of saudi arabia can do nothing. is that a slamic act?
    i always heard that kind of news always happend in that country

  11. Jace says:

    And by there fruits are they known?

  12. Amatullah says:

    SubhanALLAH. It all make sense. This is why our Prophet (may peace and blessings of ALLAH be with him) stated in his last sermon..”an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”…
    Arabs was the only race mentioned on here. Whites and blacks were just skin color. It didn’t say, Africans or Russians or other race, it literally said, “Arabs”..Everything our Prophet spoke of was from ALLAH (swa). ALLAH (swa) knew what the world would have been if the Arabs were superior over the Non-Arabs. …The message came “to a man that no man before or after him, like him” And it just happened that that man was born of a tribe in the Arab region. Just like our Prophet Isa (Jesus) was born of a Jew. Yet these Arabs that act in such way do not see. They recite so beautifully because the Qur’an and our religion, of course, is in their Language, but yet their hearts are hard as steel. Emotionless. SubhanALLAH. I find myself hurt behind my own comments for such evil because regardless, these are my brothers and sisters in Islam :( . And we wonder why Non-Muslims think Islam is a Religion of Hate. :( Al-Stukhfir ALLAH. SubhanALLAH. Al-Stukhfir ALLAH

  13. JMOKE says:

    The Great Prophet Muhammad condones this type of behavior it is in the qur’an. In jizzlam a women is considered a dog apparently.

    JIZZlam is a disgrace when it comes to human rights. Too bad for apostate moslems who have decent morals.

    Isn’t that true?

  14. ResponseAP says:

    How did this turn in to a discussion about Islam and muslims? The victim, the survivor and the perpetrators are all Muslim in these incidences, but migrant workers are being assaulted in Chinese homes in Indonesia too and in Malaysia, they’re being assaulted and abused in Thailand by Thais and migrant workers are the victims of attacks, legislative and personal in the US, the UK, throughout Europe and all through Africa and the Americas as well as in Australia…

    To all these narrow thinkers who are so obsessed with Islam, on either side of the fence, look at this issue properly. It is a question of human rights, mostly women’s rights and of Labour Rights. It takes a special kind of person to see this woman’s bravery and survival as an opportunity to voice dull-minded views on religion. It’s time for Indonesia to shut off the flow of it’s domestic workers until their safety is guaranteed. Get well soon Mbak Sumiati.

  15. nariii says:

    this is not a individual indecent. there have been similar cases going on with a sri lanka maid who have been abused by inserting nails to her body. and this is not a case of religion.

  16. Jason says:

    Saudi fascism

    I read the sad news about the torture of Indonesian maid in Saudi Arabia at the above site.

    Needless to say that it made me sad & has now confirmed by belief that Saudi Arabia is a fascist country.

  17. omar says:

    NO heart auzubillah. . . .

  18. Raaz says:

    Abuse, torture and things like that are not practice of any religion neither its done by any human being. its done by those who are lower than animal in status and in thoughts. Just because they look like a human does not mean they can be referred as a person .in fact a person who is a believer and a follower of any religion can not behave in such a way….for them God is everything ….his love is all that matters for them ….4
    And please stop abusing Islam …when Hitler massacred a lot of Jewish did anyone question the religion of Christians or the teaching of Jesus ….when the Indian students were attacked in Australia by some racist, no one was complaining the religion …..when thousands of Muslims where massacred, raped and set flame in India ….it was not the Hindu religion that was in question… people referred it has an act of fascism.. i have read stories in some site saying that small girls around 14years old were raped by some Muslims shouting Allah u Akbar…please if u wanna hate Islam ….hate them openly but at least see that you are true to your self & u don’t have to make up stories for it ….

  19. [...] we’ve previously reported , on November 6th, 2010 Mustapa was admitted to a private hospital in Madina injured from head to [...]

  20. faisal says:

    In reply to JECKHALLA’s comments that these people are not real muslims I would like to state a fact that the origin of islam is from those people and the fact is that those people are real muslims and they represent 100% islam, by stating that I mean that the fault is not in them, they are like any other society with corrupt members. It is true that Saudi Arabia needs many fixations, but it would come at a price, you cannot change ideas people have and you cannot change yourself, why are countries not boycotting against Saudi Arabia by stooping the exports should it be the manpower, goods, etc. All they do is produce oil and for that oil they get their hungry stomach filled with rice from countries like india, wheat from countries like america, fruit from countries like brazil, equador, usa, and other asian countries. Actually our governments are not willing to stop our domestic problems yet alone the problem humanity is facing in Saudi Arabia, one thing at least we could do is to expose Islam and its belifes because it is not godly and is handwritten.

  21. [...] me! Okay fine, I won’t spell it out for you, but I will tell you there is a widely held (and not, uh, entirely unfounded) stereotype that Arabs beat mistreat their help; hence Pawan the Reliable [...]

  22. [...] me! Okay fine, I won’t spell it out for you, but I will tell you there is a widely held (and not, uh, entirely unfounded) stereotype that Arabs beat mistreat their help; hence Pawan the Reliable [...]

  23. well this is the true color of Islam,you will know them by their fruits, may Mohamed and all the Arabs rot in hell,and save their oil:)

  24. [...] A blog article last month by The Economist discusses the issue of migrant rights in the context of Indonesian immigrants who work as domestic servants in Saudi Arabia. Detailing the constant threat of abuse that workers may face, the article describes how the lack of workers’ rights have resulted in several prominent scandals, leading to tense relations between the two governments. In one instance, the Saudi Arabian government executed an Indonesian domestic servant without notifying the Indonesian embassy. The worker was accused of stabbing her employer to death after he allegedly abused her. Other workers have complained of long hours, unpaid work, and physical or psychological abuse. [...]

  25. Zeeshan says:

    Saudis are notorious for this type of behavior. Everyone…..EVERYONE…..including myself, who have visited Saudi Arabia for even a short period of time, will come back complaining about the ignorant and aggressive attitude of Saudis. They are worse than Iraqis.

  26. [...] en el servicio doméstico saudí, independientemente de cuál sea su adscripción religiosa, son víctimas de una cruel explotación y objeto de todo tipo de [...]

  27. [...] Indonesian maid tortured in Saudi Arabia, another beaten to death [...]

  28. Muhammad says:

    Truly barbaric and inhuman. Saudi laws are contrary to Islamic teaching. Sadly some of these Arabs have not really embraced Islam but rather retain their Bedouin traditions from the “dark ages”.

  29. andre says:

    Most of Saudis are BARBARIC and INHUMAN. This is not the TRUE Islamic teachings! SHAME ON YOU ARABS! We are ALL EQUALS!! FU Saudis!

  30. umar malik says:

    Its a animal who done this not muslim.I hate saudies that good for nothing son of a ******.INSHA ALLAH it will happen to there girls,mothers and sisters the time is near.They are protecting only there women they dont care others but the time is not far.when there women get rapped badly and they are only cry to god for help but no when can heard them INSHA ALLAH.

  31. [...] are third class citizens in their country. They treat their camels better than they treat us. Indonesian maid tortured in Saudi Arabia, another beaten to death BBC-Indonesian president condemns Saudi torture of maid Indonesians outraged by maids’ [...]

  32. denyan doanks says:


  33. [...] Maid Abuse: Sumiati Bte Salan Mustapa, a 23-year-old Indonesian maid who suffered much abuse from her employers, including having her [...]

  34. Lucre says:

    Its really sad things like this happen…Let us not limit this to religion but the whites did same to blacks. i dont think religion is the case here but character. But the fact still remains the same Islam is a violent religion.

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Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East