11 Jan 2011

Prison sentence for woman accused of beating maid

10:37 am on 11 January 2011

A court in the Saudi city of Medina has sentenced a woman to three years in prison for severe physical abuse of her Indonesian maid.

Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, was admitted to hospital in November with broken bones and burns to her face and body.

The case received worldwide attention, and prompted the Indonesian president to demand justice for her "torture".

But Saudi media say the convicted woman maintains she is innocent.

al-Watan newspaper reported the woman - who has not been named in media reports - was convicted under a new royal decree against human trafficking.

But the Indonesian consulate in Saudi Arabia, told the BBC his country would press for a harsher sentence.

It said the maximum jail sentence was 15 years according to Saudi law.

The defendant's lawyer is also reported as saying she would appeal against the sentence.

Ms Sumiati appeared in court last week to show the judge her scars.

She has already undergone surgery but will require another operation according to the Indonesian consulate.

The BBC reports a number of cases of abuse of migrant domestic workers have come to light in Saudi Arabia over recent years.