A housewife who scalded her maid with hot water and an iron has been jailed for 18 years in Malaysia.Nirmala Bonat at 19, when she started work for the wealthy Malaysian
Yim Pek Ha was found guilty of using dangerous weapons to injure Nirmala Bonat on three separate occasions, in one of the country's worst cases of domestic worker abuse.Ms Bonat said she was beaten and burned for mistakes she made during the five months she worked in Yim's home in Kuala Lumpur in 2004.
On one occasion, her employer took a hot iron and pressed it against her breasts after complaining that clothes had not been ironed properly.
Malaysian newspapers published photographs of a then 19-year-old Ms Bonat, which showed burns and bruises over much of her body.
Yim's defence claimed the injuries were self-inflicted, but Judge Akhtar Tahir disagreed.
He said he wanted to impose a "deterrent sentence" on Yim to show that "sadistic behaviour... cannot be tolerated in a civil society."
Yim's lawyer called the sentence "excessive" because there was "no loss of life, no disfigurement, no scars" in the case.
The wealthy 40-year-old, who broke down in tears in court, will appeal against the verdict, Jagjit Singh said.
Ms Bonat did not attend the hearing because she has returned to her hometown in the East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia.
Human rights groups and Indonesian officials have urged Malaysia to strengthen laws to protect some 300,000 Indonesian domestic workers.
At least 1,500 Indonesian maids seek help each year at diplomatic offices across Malaysia, officials said.
UPDATE: 28 NOV 2008
Housewife Yim Pek Ha Out On RM200,000 Bail
MORE SHOCKING NEWS
AN EYE FOR AN EYE
A man blinded Ameneh in an acid attack after she spurned his marriage proposals. He has been sentenced to the same punishment, in a literal application of Iran's sharia Eye-for-an-Eye Qisa laws.
Tehran province criminal court has ordered Majid Movahedi, 27, to be blinded in both eyes from drops of acid in response to a plea from his victim, Ameneh Bahrami. NB Majid's family is implicated in this horrific crime.
The punishment is legal under the Sharia Code of Qisas, which allows retribution for violent crimes.
Bahrami was left horrifically disfigured after Movahedi threw a jar of acid in her face in October 2004. Her injuries led to the loss of one eye and left her blind in the other.
She had previously complained to police about being threatened and harassed by Movahedi, but had been told no action could be taken.
Asked by the judge if she wanted Movahedi's face to be splashed with acid, she replied: "That is impossible and horrific. Just drip 20 drops of acid in his eyes so he can realise what pain I am undergoing."
Ameneh Bahrami, said Movahedi's family had asked her to marry him several times, but she had refused. Movahedi later threatened to kill her. Movahedi said he decided to attack Bahrami after she told him she had married someone else, and pleaded with him to leave her alone.
"I decided to splash acid on her face so her husband would leave her and I could have her," he told the court.
Tehran's deputy public prosecutor, Mahmoud Salarkia, said the publicity surrounding the case would deter future acid attacks.
Majid is allowed to appeal the verdict.
UPDATE: 9 Mar 2009
Iranian Ameneh Bahrami poses in Barcelona holding a photograph of herself before she was blinded by acid
Sources of Information
An Eye for An Eye according to Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Qisas)
Court orders Iranian man blinded - BBC - 28 November 2008
Eye for an Eye: Iranian man sentenced to be blinded for acid attack - The Guardian - 28 November 2008
Iranian court sentences man to be blinded by acid - AP NEWS - 27 November 2008