A Dubai resident convicted of torturing an Indonesian maid to death has had his life sentence reduced on appeal to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty when the case was first heard at Dubai Criminal Court in September last year.
They said the Arab American, 39, originally from Syria, had tortured the 28-year-old maid for nearly six months.
The maid began to work for the man's family in October 2019 but it was only after he lost his job in March 2020 and was staying at home that the series of assaults began.
Police were alerted when he rushed the maid to a local hospital in September 2020.
“During police questioning, he said he found her unconscious on the toilet seat of his Jumeirah Lakes Towers apartment then wrapped her in a sheet and drove her to hospital,” a police lieutenant told judges.
Hospital staff called the police when they discovered that the woman was dead on arrival, court records said.
Judges were told the man left the victim without food for long periods and prevented her from receiving medical treatment.
They heard how she was beaten with a broomstick, punched and kicked on several parts of her body, and burnt with a hot iron on the side of her face.
A medical report stated the victim, who weighed just 32 kilograms at the time of her death, had more than 22 wounds, 11 broken ribs, bruises and scratches all over her body.
Doctors said she had more than 100 scars from wounds that had recently healed.
The report said the injuries caused her internal organs to rupture, which eventually led to her death.
The man, a former executive director of a private company, denied charges of confinement and causing wrongful death at Dubai Criminal Court.
“She was incompetent and very slow and advised her to improve but she was deliberately ignoring me,” the man said in court.
He said he was under pressure from staying at home and being unable to secure another job.
“I didn’t know she was dead when I took her to the hospital,” he said.
Judges convicted him of all charges and sentenced him to life in prison.
His defence lawyer Mohammad Al Najar took the case to the Court of Appeal seeking a reduced sentence.
“My client admitted assault that led to death charge but denied confining the victim, proven by the fact that she used to take the trash out,” Mr Mohammad told the court.
“She also transferred her last salary a month before her death to her family, and this indicates she was not being held but could have called for help if she was being tortured.”
The sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison citing the lawyer’s argument and a waiver from the woman’s family, after they received compensation and blood money of 1.3 billion Indonesian Rupiah ($87,000).