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Body of Indian maid tortured in Saudi returned home

On May 21, 2016

Asima Khatoon, 34, died in Saudi Arabia on May 2 from injuries allegedly inflicted by her employer.

Asima went to Riyadh as a domestic worker in 2015. In the months before her death, she phoned her family to plead for rescue; she told them her employer tortured her and withheld her salary.

But her family’s desperate attempts to get Indian officials to intervene were to no avail; they received a letter from the Indian embassy to Riyadh only on the day of Asima’s death.

Official records from Riyadh cite tuberculosis as the cause of her death. But Asima’s family say she left India perfectly healthy, as evidenced by the pre-departure medical tests migrant workers must take to enter the GCC. These GAMCA medical requirements are particularly strict against TB, as even healthy prospective migrants with healed TB scars are denied clearance.

Following her death, Indian authorities eventually registered a criminal case against the local broker who recruited Asima.

A criminal case has not yet been filed against employer.