Killing Bangladeshi Domestic Help

Saudi woman gets death

Staff Correspondent

16 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a woman to death and her husband and son to different terms of imprisonment for murdering a 40-year-old Bangladeshi female domestic help in the Arab country.

The condemned convict is Ayesha Al-Jizani.

The court, which delivered the verdict on Sunday, awarded Ayesha’s husband Bassem Salem 38 months in prison and fined him 50,000 Saudi riyals for destroying the evidence of murder, forcing domestic help Abiron Begum Ansar to work outside his home and failing to provide medical treatment for her.

It also sent the couple’s son, Walid Baseed Salem, to a juvenile correctional centre for seven months for not cooperating with Abiron on several occasions.

Amid a number of allegations of torture, rape and murder of Bangladeshi female domestic helps by their employers in Saudi Arabia, this is a rare verdict delivered against the citizens of the oil-rich country.

Since the brutal murder of Abiron, the Labour Welfare Wing of the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh represented the victim’s family and worked to ensure justice. Earlier this year, during the hearing of the case, the Criminal Court-6 in Riyadh requested Abiron’s family to submit a written statement detailing whether they wanted the death penalty of the accused or financial compensation over the murder.

In reply, the family informed the Bangladeshi Embassy to request the court to hand down the maximum punishment to the three Saudi nationals if they are found guilty.

Bangladesh Embassy’s First Secretary (Labour) Md Shafiqul Islam and legal aid Sohel Ahmed were present at the court during the pronouncement of the verdict.

Abiron, a resident of Khulna’s Paikgachha upazila, went to Saudi Arabia in 2017 with the help of a local broker named Rabiul through a recruiting agency in Dhaka.

While working as the domestic help, she endured severe physical assault at her employer’s house, her family alleged.

The employers would not give her food and even used to pour hot water on her and put her head into a grill, they alleged.

And at one stage, her family completely lost communications with her.

Abiron was killed on March 24, 2019. Seven months after the murder, her lifeless body finally arrived in the country on October 24, 2019 thanks to the Wage Earners Welfare Board.

Following the murder, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Bangladesh formed a fact-finding committee headed by its member Dr Nomita Halder.

On November 25 of that year, Dr Nomita Halder visited Abiron’s home and talked to family members. She also spoke to the agency, ministries concerned and embassies and submitted a detailed report on December 15 the same year.

A case was filed in Khulna under the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012 where Rabiul was made the main accused.