Philippines urges Saudi Arabia to probe maid's murder

Posted at 09/15/2010 10:18 PM | Updated as of 09/16/2010 12:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines on Wednesday demanded that Saudi Arabia investigate the killing of a Filipina domestic worker who was stabbed and attacked with sulphuric acid at her employer's home.

The victim, whose name and other details were withheld until her family was informed, was found with horrific injuries at a house in the eastern Saudi city of Al-Khobar on September 8, said the foreign ministry in Manila.

A ministry statement rejected the employer's supposed explanation that the woman had committed suicide.

"The (Philippine) embassy is... to make strong representations with the Saudi authorities for the thorough investigation of the case, and if warranted, for the filing of the necessary criminal charges against the culprit," it said.

The ministry said the woman had flown to the Middle East kingdom 100 days earlier to work as a nursing aide, but was forced to become a "household service worker" instead.

She was taken to the King Fahd Hospital on September 8 by the Red Crescent after she was found in the kitchen of her employer's residence, the statement said.

She was found to have knife wounds in her neck, abdomen and wrist, as well as acid burns in her mouth area, arms and legs. Reportedly an almost empty container of sulphuric acid was taken from the scene, it added.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital. The doctor who treated the woman told police it was impossible for the woman to have committed suicide by stabbing herself and ingesting the acid at the same time, the ministry said.

Saudi Arabia employs nearly one million Filipinos, part of a huge diaspora of nearly nine million people who have emigrated to find work amid limited opportunities at home.

The enormous migrant labour force remitted 17.3 billion dollars to their families in the Philippines last year, helping keep the impoverished country afloat.