7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Shock at verdict in maid case

RIGHTS activists have criticised Bahrain's justice system after a maid who was allegedly beaten up by her employer was ordered to pay BD590 for running away.

Sri Lankan Sushila Jayathilaka, 49, fled the Bahraini's home in Hamad Town early last year following 10 months of mistreatment.

She later filed a case against her employer with the help of the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS).

But the Urgent Matters Court, which took more than a year to issue a verdict, ruled against her after her sponsor filed a counter case demanding BD600 for breach of contract.

Judges ordered Ms Jayathilaka to pay him BD580 as compensation and BD10 court costs.

MWPS chairwoman Marietta Dias said volunteers were shocked at the verdict.

"After handling this case for more than a year, this is the verdict we get for a woman who was beaten by her sponsor. She now has to pay money, which she does not have," she said.

"It is a complete waste of time and this woman will now have to wait for God knows how many years until she is reunited with her loved ones in Sri Lanka."

Ms Dias said the MWPS was planning to appeal against the decision, given the fact that Ms Jayathilaka is unemployed and cannot afford to pay a huge fine.

"Cases like this shows that we need concerned authorities, including in the judiciary, to fast track such cases so that victims do not have to wait for years for a verdict."

Ms Jayathilaka, from Avissawella village in Sri Lanka, came to Bahrain in January 2011.

"Everything was fine for the first three months. But after that I was asked to do all the chores at their home as well as at the saloon for a salary of BD60," she said during a Press conference at the MWPS headquarters in Adliya, attended by Ms Dias and the group's assistant action committee head Yvonne Bhaskaran.

The maid was also reportedly ripped off by someone who promised to help her get away from her employer.

"This woman was subjected to beatings and verbal abuse and managed to leave the house after contacting a manpower agency in Bahrain," said Ms Dias.

The maid reportedly handed over BD100 to a staff member, who promised to arrange her flight home.

However, he failed to do so and kept the money. [email protected]

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