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The facade of the Dubai Court. The 29-year-old defendant and his 28-year-old wife, both Indian, tortured the man’s mother inside their residence in Al Ghusais. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A man and his wife are on trial for torturing and starving the man’s mother to death, a Dubai court heard on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old defendant and his 28-year-old wife, both Indian, tortured the man’s mother inside their residence in Al Ghusais, starving her until she weighed just 29-kg, because she wasn’t looking after her granddaughter.

According to Dubai Court of First Instance, the couple tortured the victim from July 2018, until her death in October 2018.

I was in the laundry area when I saw an elderly woman looking miserable ... there were signs of burns on her body. I asked her what had happened, but she refused to answer and left.

- A neighbour who helped rescue the woman

An Indian neighbour testified that she met the wife in the building and she had told her that her mother-in-law had come from India to look after their daughter, but she neglected the child and wasn’t changing the girl’s nappies, which caused the girl to become ill.

“After a few days, I was in the laundry area when I saw the an elderly woman looking miserable and pitiful,” said the neighbour. “There were signs of burns on her body as she was wearing a sari. I asked her what happened but she refused to answer and left,” added the neighbour.

29kg

woman’s weight when she died in October 2018

Soon after, the neighbour reported the woman’s condition to the building’s security guard who searched every apartment to find out where the woman was staying. When they reached the defendants’ flat they found the victim laying on the floor.

“The man was standing near her and he said that she was his mother. He claimed that she didn’t want to sleep on the bed,” said the neighbour. “I called for an ambulance as the woman was in critical condition. I tried to fix her clothes but her sari was stuck to her burned body and she was crying in pain,” added the neighbour.

She was crying in pain. I asked her son what caused the burns and he said that she had poured hot water on herself. He didn’t even help us carry her to the wheelchair. The neighbours helped.

- A paramedic who attended to the woman

A paramedic told Dubai Public Prosecution, that the man didn’t even walk his mother to the ambulance and was looking on from afar when she was transferred to the vehicle.

“She was crying in pain,” said the paramedic. “I asked her son what caused the burns and he said that she had poured hot water on herself. He didn’t care about his mother and didn’t even help us to carry her to the wheelchair. It was the neighbours who helped.”

The woman was transferred to Rashid Hospital but she died a month later.

According to a forensic report, the man’s mother, who was in her 50s, suffered multiple burns and broken bones as result of sustained torture and physical assault. She was only 29-kg when she arrived to the hospital and reports confirmed that she had been starved, tortured and neglected for months leading up to her death.

The couple denied a charge of causing the victim’s death. The trial has been adjourned until July 3, during which time the couple will remain in custody.