Lebanese woman sentenced to prison for beating her Filipino maid

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Dec 12 2009

On 9 December 2009, a criminal court judge (single judge) in Batroun sentenced a Lebanese woman who beat the Filipino maid who was working at her home to 15 days of prison, to a fine of fifty thousand Lebanese Pounds, and to payment to Jonalin Malibago, the Pilipino maid, of ten million and eight hundred Lebanese Pounds in compensation.

Al-Akhbar newspaper declared it “victory of the judiciary” and hailed it as an important step on the road to fighting racist behavior of some Lebanese. What gave the sentencing importance is the presence of the victim in her home country, the Philippine. The judge refused the request of the Lebanese woman to bring the victim in front of the court.

The case dates back to 2006 when the sentenced Lebanese employer brought her maid during the July War to the embassy of Philippine in Ashrafieh, where Filipino nationals were gathering for repatriation because of the absence of security. At the embassy, the Lebanese woman was attacked by embassy officials and other maids, which required the intervention of security officials. Why? Because the Lebanese woman (who’s initials are F. S.) had beaten Jonalin to push her to walk faster while carrying her luggage. Jonalin was taken to hospital after she had fainted. She showed signs of beating and black, blue and yellow bruises.

The medical report that was commissioned by the Beirut Appeals Prosecutor (Criminal prosecutor) from officially authorized doctors confirmed the presence of bruises all over the body of the plaintiff caused by direct shocks. The medical report noted that the she did not have blood diseases.

Between February 2006 and July 2006, Jonalin was working as a housemaid. During that period, her employer, the sentenced woman, took her to doctors, one of which wrote that she had a blood disease, a reduced rate of globins, and preparedness for Thalassemia. This justified the bruises.

The court decision went into medical detail: the average of globins of with Jonalin was 93000 and not 15000 to 30000 where bruises would appear on the limbs. Furthermore, the bruises were on the chest, the back and the head – not only on the limbs. The court decision added that foreign maids have medical checkups prior to beginning work in Lebanon, and would not have been allowed to work if she had diseases.

With the added photos of bruises taken by the officially authorized doctors, the court reached the conviction that the bruises were due to continuous beating by the Lebanese employer.

Jonalin had left Lebanon to the Philippines on August 16, 2006 and was given justice on December 9, 2009.

Note: this is a resume translation of Al-Akhbar’s article published December 12, 2009:
“المحكمة تعاقب لبنانية ضربت فيليبينية,” http://www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/169038/

Originally published on Ethiopian Suicides.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East