Kuwait female doctor jailed for torturing African worker

AFP , Thursday 17 Dec 2015

Kuwait's appeals court has sentenced a female physician to four years in jail for torturing her African household worker who became partially blind as a result, local media reported Thursday.

Al-Watan newspaper reported on its website that the Kuwaiti doctor tortured the Madagascan domestic worker almost daily, systematically beating her until she lost vision in her left eye.

A lower court had acquitted the 55-year-old but the appeals court on Wednesday sentenced her to jail.

The court also fined the doctor $2,500 (2,300 euros) and ordered her to pay temporary damages of $16,500 to the worker.

The paper said that the doctor's niece helped the worker by taking her to a police station where she filed a complaint.

The verdict is not final as it must be reviewed by the supreme court.

Kuwait's parliament in June passed the first legislation in the oil-rich Gulf state to regulate the status of thousands of mainly Asian domestic helpers.

About 600,000 people, mostly from Asia, work for households in Kuwait.

The tiny nation has a native population of 1.3 million in addition to 2.9 million foreigners.

Kuwait and other Gulf countries, where at least 2.4 million domestic helpers work, have repeatedly come under strong criticism by international rights groups for alleged maltreatment of foreign workers.

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