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Kuwaiti women films falling maid, now jailed
October 6, 2018, 5:40 pm

A Kuwaiti woman has been sentenced to 20 months in jail for not attempting to rescue her maid, and instead filming and posting the video online of her maid holding on precariously to the seventh-floor window-ledge of the apartment building before eventually falling down.

Judge Ibrahim Al-Obaid presiding over the Court of Appeals last week sentenced the Kuwaiti woman for her callousness and total disregard for human life.

In March of this year, the Operations Room of the Interior Ministry received a call that an Ethiopian maid had tried to commit suicide by jumping from the seventh floor of a building in Sabah Al-Salem. Paramedics who arrived on the scene found the maid luckily survived her fall, as she had landed on an awning sheet, seven floors below the window from which she fell. They rushed her to hospital where she was found to have suffered nose and ear bleeding and a broken arm.

The 12-second video that the woman had filmed and posted online proved to be her downfall, as it showed the maid hanging outside the building, with one hand tightly gripping the window frame, as she begs for help in an apparent last-minute change of mind.

The Kuwaiti woman is heard telling the hanging maid: “Oh crazy, come back.” The terrified maid is then seen screaming “hold me, hold me”, just before her hand slips and she falls down to hit the awning, which appeared to have softened the impact. The video clip posted online set social media abuzz, with viewers and rights groups criticizing the woman’s cruelty.

Though the reasons for the maid’s attempted suicide were not revealed, the Kuwait Society for Human Rights had called on the authorities to investigate the case and refer it to court. The criminal investigation police then referred the Kuwaiti woman to the prosecution for not attempting to help the victim.

During investigation, the woman admitted she had taken footage of the incident in order to exonerate herself, stressing there was no way she could not have rescued the maid. The Public Prosecution pressed charges against the accused for filming and publishing the video without the consent of the victim.

There are more than 600,000 domestic helpers in Kuwait, the vast majority of whom are Asians. Many domestic helpers complain of abuse, mistreatment and non-payment of wages by the household owners. Every year there are hundreds of media reports about maids who escape harsh treatment from their employers and seek shelter in government-run safe houses or with their embassies.

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