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Urgent: Indian Woman Falsely Imprisoned in Bahrain

On April 15, 2009

Mrs Durga is a 33 year old Indian national currently imprisoned in Bahrain. She was working as a housemaid for a Bahraini employer, but was paid only BD20 per month instead of BD50 promised to her in her contract, after an Indian employment broker based in Bahrain claimed most of her salary as a 'commission'. After three years of seeing over half of her wages disappear into the hands of the broker, Mrs Durga quit her job and found work in another household. The broker then spoke to her ex-employer, and persuaded her to lodge a false claim with the police, accusing Mrs Durga of stealing valuables. The police believed the accusation, and Mrs Durga is now two months into a three and a half month jail sentence in Bahrain.

Since Mrs Durga went into jail, her husband, a poor fisherman in Southern India, has been taken seriously ill. Members of her community in Andhra Pradesh -both Muslim and Christian - have appealed to the Bahraini authorities to release Mrs Durga immediately, so that she can have a chance to see her husband, who is in a critical condition in hospital and could die soon.

Mrs Durga has an air ticket home to Hyderabad booked for April 20th, and members of her community are still holding out hope that the Bahraini authorities will take pity on her and allow her to return home. As far as MRorg is aware, Mrs Durga has had no legal representation in Bahrain, and is entirely helpless.

This story was passed on to us from a source in Bahrain, who was contacted by a social worker from the Durga family's community in India. This is another example of how migrant workers find themselves at the mercy of the legal systems of their host countries- and the devastation that this cause to their families and home communities.