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2 Indonesian Maids Beaten to Death

On August 6, 2007

The Arab News service reports yet another horrific story from Saudi Arabia this morning:

JEDDAH, 6 August 2007 — Two Indonesian maids were beaten to death and two others remain in the intensive care unit at a Riyadh hospital in an assault authorities believe was committed by the son of the maids’ employer. The 17-year-old suspect in the double-homicide and assault is reportedly being held in a mental hospital while police have detained his father.

The employer’s name was provided to Arab News by hospital staff, but is being withheld until it can be corroborated with authorities. The crime took place in the suburban community of Aflaj.

According to hospital staff, the police believe the suspect smashed the women against walls and beat them with an igal (the black headband used to hold down the shumag, the Bedouin headdress commonly worn by Saudi men) because he thought they were possessed by the devil and performing witchcraft on him.

Two of the women were pronounced dead on arrival at Aflaj General Hospital at about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The surviving assault victims were identified as Romini Shurti, 30, and Tari Bibitarfin, 27.

The survivors are conscious but are too sore to move, the nurse said, adding that it would take at least two weeks for them to recover. “We can’t find any normal skin on them,” a nurse at the hospital told Arab News. “It’s all red and blue and swollen.”

Speaking in broken Arabic, Bibitarfin told Arab News that the youth (one of nine siblings) attacked them one by one while they were working and was saying they “had the devil inside” and that they “did magic”. The large household is located in a suburban area.

Bibitarfin was unable to explain where the other members of the family were when the assault took place. She has been working at this household for about 18 months with no issues with the family members.

Police are investigating the crime. It is unclear who brought the maids to the hospital, though hospital staff reported that the bodies arrived first. The Indonesian Embassy did not wish to comment yesterday.

Read article here.