Dubai: A young Kenyan woman is fighting for her life in a Dubai hospital following a brutal weekend assault in a car park behind the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Shaikh Zayed Road.
A Rashid Hospital official confirmed on Monday that doctors are administering critical emergency care to Esther, 26, who is reported to be on life support in the trauma centre.
Her friends told Gulf News on Monday that they visited Esther in the intensive care unit and medical authorities advised them that the former sales clerk at a major store in a Dubai mall is in a coma and is experiencing low levels of brain activity.
Dubai police said two Emirati men are facing tough questions while police probe reports of escalating violence around 3:20am on Saturday that led to an unconscious Kenyan woman being rushed to the hospital by ambulance with blood leaking from her ears, nose and mouth.
A police official from Bur Dubai police station said primary charges of assault that led to injury may be in order after all evidence in the case is gathered and weighed by authorities.
"One suspect, who beat the girl, remains in custody while the other suspect has been released on bail," a police official told Gulf News.
"The girl remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit. The case has been referred to the public prosecution."
When contacted by Gulf News, a senior prosecutor confirmed police have referred the case to the prosecution.
"The suspects are facing primary charges of assault that led to injury and if during the investigation new evidence surfaces, then the charges might be modified. In similar cases if the victim dies, a suspect is usually charged with assault leading to death," he said.
"However the investigation requires that we wait for forensic reports and to hear more prosecution witnesses... such procedures take some time, especially when the girl's medical situation remains unclear yet, as she remains in ICU."
No charges were laid as of press time on Monday, according to the online case file.
Meanwhile, two women directly involved in the altercation told Gulf News on Monday that they were still physically and emotionally shaken, and fear for their friend Esther's life.
Both women were accompanying Esther to a waiting taxi on the dark early morning in question behind Crowne Plaza when a group of young men in their early 20s approached them uninvited.
Eyewitnesses alleged that unwarranted advances by one male led to the violence. They claim he touched one of the women on the buttocks.
In an interview with Gulf News one of the women, Susan Wanjiru, said she immediately protested in very clear terms and told the offending man to leave her friend alone.
The unidentified man answered with a punch to Susan's face, she claimed.
"He gave me a blow in my face, my left eye. He punched me."
When Susan was knocked from her feet, Esther attempted to defend her friend, throwing one of her shoes in the direction of the assailant.
According to Susan, the group of men quickly gathered up their male friend and placed him in a four-wheel-drive vehicle to defuse the scene.
But the male left the vehicle, then allegedly punched Esther in the face knocking her to the ground, and began kicking her in the head.
"He kicked hard, like someone who was very angry," said Susan.
The woman who was first touched on the buttocks told Gulf News that "he started punching her [Esther], she could not fight back. I jumped in and started hitting him with my shoe".
She said that the assailant repeatedly kicked Esther in the head.
"I don't know how many times. He wouldn't stop," she said. "She just lay there on the floor [the ground], she was defenceless."
News of the incident was not well received by those who formerly worked with Esther.
One described Esther as a petite young woman but advised not to judge her personality by her small frame. Although Esther is small, her big personality and zest for life leads her to speak her mind and often help friends, she said.
"Esther is so full of life, she is very strong," she told Gulf News.
Another co-worker said that friends were praying for her recovery.
"We are very sad to hear this news and we are praying she will be okay," she said.