Adelina Sau was found sleeping outside of her Malaysian employer’s home, where she worked for two years without pay, her body covered in burn marks and pus oozing from her wounds. Just days after her rescue, the 21-year-old Indonesian domestic worker died from organ failure in the hospital.
Following her death, S. Ambika, Adelina’s employer, was charged with murder by Malaysian authorities.
Yet this week the Penang High Court fully acquitted Ambika, shocking the Indonesian government and human rights activists who say there was clear evidence of abuse.
They aren’t alone; even the Malaysian Attorney General is pledging an investigation into why the charges were suspiciously dropped, all done without notifying Adelina’s family or the Indonesian government.
The Jakarta Post reports:
Rights advocates alerted the authorities to the East Nusa Tenggara native’s condition after they found her battered and bitten and forced to sleep outside with her employer’s pet Rottweiler for more than a month.
“We are very shocked because we know there are sufficient witnesses and evidence against the defendant,” said Iwanshah Wibisono, the Consul General of Indonesia in Penang.
“We have also contacted various Malaysian authorities to […] clarify why the [alleged] abuser was released.”
The Indonesian government is not party to the current legal process, but hopes the prosecutors move to appeal the court ruling.
A legal team is preparing a civil lawsuit against the defendant, pending the outcome of the current criminal case.
Adelina’s mother, Yohana Banunaek, said “she (her daughter) did not die because of her sickness, but because she was tortured.”
Adelina’s death sparked outrage across Indonesia, prompting the Indonesian government to threaten Malaysia that it would no longer send domestic workers to the country.
The Indonesian government believes Adelina was a victim of human trafficking.
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