Maid murder trial commences

Prosecutors at the Medan District Court in North Sumatra on Wednesday slapped charges on Bibi Randika for allegedly torturing and murdering her maid.

Bibi stands accused of violating Law No. 21/2007 on human trafficking, Law No. 23/2004 on domestic violence, and several articles in the Criminal Code (KUHP) on violence resulting in death.

Public prosecutor Artha Rohani Sihombing said the 47-year-old had cruelly treated four of her maids, namely Endang, Rukmiani, Anis Rahayu and Hermin alias Cici. Artha added that Bibi had repeatedly tortured the four women and provided them with food unfit for human consumption.

Artha said Bibi had once forced Hermin to clean the floor until she complained of hunger.

Artha added that Bibi did not heed the appeal and instead kicked her in the stomach. She then asked other suspects, Zainal Abidin, alias Jahri, and Feri to bathe the victim.

Artha said under Bibi's orders, Jahri and Feri dunked the victim's head in a tub until she lost consciousness. Then, added Artha, they placed Cici under a staircase.

"The victim eventually died and her body was dumped in Karo regency," said Artha in the hearing on Wednesday.

The trial had begun on April 16, but Bibi fainted during the first hearing and was rushed to the hospital.

Bibi, through her lawyer, asked the judges on Wednesday to allow her to undergo treatment at home.

"We hope the panel of judges gives our client permission to be detained at home so she can receive proper treatment," said Bibi's lawyer, Dody Chandra, as he handed the appeal letter to the judges.

In response to the appeal, judge Aksir said he needed time to discuss the matter.

Bibi's husband, Syamsul Anwar, owned a labour placement agency that, according to Medan administration, had a permit for two agencies, CV Maju Jaya, located on Jl. Beo and BKK Raja, located on Jl. Sei Kera in Medan.

The permits for both agencies had, however, expired in 2007 and not been renewed.

The police raided both companies in November and rescued three domestic maids who had apparently been tortured by the family for years.

The three maids saved in the raid were Endang Murdaningsih, 55, of Madura in East Java; Anis Rahayu, 25, of Malang in East Java and Rukmiani, 43, of Demak, Central Java.

According to the police, indications of torture were evident all over their bodies. The maids told the police they had worked for Syamsul's family without payment for five years and had frequently been tortured by his family.

Besides Cici, another maid, identified as Yanti, is believed to have been killed by members of the family.

Bibi was named a murder suspect by investigators at the Medan Police's detective unit at the end of last year. Besides Bibi, police have named six others suspects, including Syamsul.

Three of the suspects have been incarcerated. They are Bibi's son 17-year-old M. Thariq Anwar, who was sentenced to 20 months in prison, and their employees, M. Hanafi Bahri and Kiki Andika, who were sentenced to five years and 30 months in prison, respectively.