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Dubai: The Dubai Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction of three people who allegedly kept five maids locked inside the second floor office of a recruitment firm in Al Muraqabbat area for more than a month.

The maids eventually escaped from the window using knotted bedsheets. However one of them sustained injuries after the bedsheets gave way.

A 53-year-old Jordanian businessman and his Egyptian partner and Filipina employee were charged with keeping the maids in illegal confinement. They were given a suspended sentenced of six months by the Dubai Court of First Instance.

However, the Dubai Court of Appeal overturned the verdict after it emerged that the defendants didn’t have any criminal intent to keep the maids under lock and key.

“The maids were brought to the country by the defendants to work as housemaids. They were free to walk inside the office and used to go out for shopping. The office served as a temporary residence for the maids. The defendants used to lock their door so that they could remain protected. There was no criminal intent,” the judge observed.

A Filipina maid testified that she came to the country to work as a housemaid in August 2018. She said she was employed in a house for three months until the owner sent her back to the recruitment agency.

“We used to stay in a two bedroom apartment which doubled up as an office. I was locked inside the apartment and wasn’t allowed to step outside” she said, adding that the defendants threaten to beat her up if she dared to escape.

“We decided to escape using bedsheets as a rope. One of us fell and was injured,” she added.

People who saw the escape bid alerted Dubai Police.

The appeal verdict can be challenged within 30 days.