Saudi Sponsors Suspected of Brutally Murdering Two Asian Maids

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Sep 16 2010

Last week, two murder cases of Asian domestic workers were reported in Saudi Arabia. In the first case, a Saudi employer confessed in a Medina court to murdering her Indonesian maid, after medical reports showed that she was beaten to death. In the second case, a Filipino maid was brutally murdered in her sponsor's house in Al-Khobar.

In the Medina case, the Indonesian maid (whose name isn't given in any of the Saudi media reports) was beaten to death by her sponsor who broke her front teeth and ruptured her spleen. The maid also had a bruised eye, and burn and beating marks all over her body. The woman who confessed to the murder of her maid is a 30-something mother of five.

In the case in Al-Khobar, 22-year-old Romilyn Eroy-Ybañez, a native of North Cotabato in the Philippines was found dead in her sponsor's house on September 8th. Her autopsy report showed that she died from stab wounds to her neck, abdomen and wrist, as well as acid burns around her mouth and on her legs and arms. A physician who examined the body said that it is impossible for Romilyn to have committed suicide by stabbing herself while ingesting the sulfuric acid at the same time. Despite this, no criminal charges were filed yet for the murder of Romilyn.

Romilyn was also a victim of contract substitution - when a worker is promised a certain job and conditions in her sending country, only to discover a different job with worse conditions once she arrives to her destination. Romilyn was promised a job of a nursing aide by her recruitement agency, PRA Solidworks Manpower Resources and Promotion, but was given a job of a housemaid when she arrived in Al-Khobar. In response, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has asked the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to suspend the license of the recruitment agency.

On a related matter, last week Saudi police announced that they arrested a man who confessed to killing three maids over three years.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East