Kuwaiti woman charged for filming domestic worker’s window fall

Posted at 8:15 PM, Apr 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-02 20:15:39-04

Kuwaiti authorities have filed charges against a woman who filmed a video in which she can be heard taunting a domestic worker who pleaded for help before falling from a window.

The Ministry of Justice said on Sunday that the Kuwaiti woman faces two charges: filming an individual without consent and publishing a video of an individual without consent.

Authorities have not released the names of the Kuwaiti woman or the domestic worker, an Ethiopian national.

In the 12-second video, the domestic worker can be seen hanging by one hand from a window, a look of terror on her face.

“Come back you lunatic!” the Kuwaiti woman yells at the domestic worker.

“Hold me! Hold me!” the worker cries, before losing her grip and falling several stories onto a small, hard canopy below.

Paramedics responded to the incident, which occurred on March 30 in the Sabah al-Salem district of Kuwait City, treating the woman for a broken arm and other non-life threatening injuries, according to an official at the Ministry of Interior who was briefed on the case.

The Kuwait Society for Human Rights issued a statement on the same day, condemning the employer’s actions and characterizing them as “inhumane.” The group also urged authorities to investigate.

Authorities detained the Kuwaiti woman on the same day, according to the Ministry of Interior official. The Public Prosecutor’s Office released a summary of her account on Sunday.

The employer claims she was filming a meal that she was preparing in the kitchen when her daughter alerted her that the domestic worker had climbed out of a window in another room. The Kuwaiti woman rushed into the room with her phone still on, she said.

Responding to a question by prosecutors about why she did not assist the woman when she asked for help, the employer responded that the maid was too heavy and that she did not want to risk falling out of the window herself.

The employer stated that the domestic worker had only been employed by the family for a few days. She also denied rumors that the worker had been abused, causing her to want to escape or commit suicide.

The Ethiopian woman could not be reached for comment.

Kuwait, like many Middle Eastern countries, practices “kafala,” a labor system where migrant workers rely on their employers for visa sponsorships and maintaining legal status. Critics argue that the system creates a disparate relationship between the parties, leaving workers vulnerable to abuse.