Sharjah: A female employer of an Ethiopian housemaid who works illegally in the UAE has been summoned by the Sharjah police for questioning in connection with allegations that an assailant poured hot cooking oil on the maid’s head and back, causing serious burns across the victim’s body.
The housemaid is scheduled to undergo skin grafting surgery on Monday, more than a month after being hospitalised following the incident in her sponsor’s Mirdif villa in early February.
The employer could not be reached on her telephone by Gulf News by press time on Sunday.
Al Qassimi Hospital officials said the maid has been fighting for her life in the intensive care unit (ICU) after suffering first- and second-degree burns. The victim has been heavily medicated as the ICU team helps nurse her back to health.
Gulf News visited Room No 5 in the surgery section at the hospital on Sunday where the victim is receiving treatment.
The victim, identified as B.K., alleged in an interview that her employer threw flour, which the maid was preparing to make samosas, on the floor and ordered her to clean up the mess. The victim told police that while she was cleaning, the Moroccan assailant threw boiling oil on her. She alleged that her employer asked her not to scream.
The soft-spoken victim told us that the pain was unbearable. “At first, I lost my eyesight,” said the woman, who regained her sight after three days.
The woman said her employer refused to allow her to seek medical treatment.
“She locked me [in the villa] for three days after the incident. She threatened me that if I told police about the incident, I would be affected because I am an illegal worker,” the maid said.
Without proper medical treatment, her condition worsened. She turned weaker as she was confined inside the villa.
After pleading with her employer that she would not report the matter to the police, the maid was finally released and she sought medical assistance.
She later told police that this wasn’t the first time she had suffered burns at her employer’s villa. The maid was burnt by her employers twice over 50 days, she alleged. On the first occasion, the housemaid said she sustained burns on her leg, a pain she still experiences.
“These maids are human and they come here to earn a decent living to support their poor families. We have decided that this abuse must stop,” Dr Faisal Salman, a plastic surgeon at Al Qassimi Hospital, told Gulf News.
Salman said the hospital admitted the victim on February 24 and recorded burns of first- and second-degree on her face and different body parts.
The maid, Salman said, has been provided necessary treatment and a medical team consisting of three doctors are following her case on a daily basis.
Salman said the hospital’s administration reported the case to the authorities.
Meanwhile, an investigation by Sharjah Police continues.