Akhdam in Germany

Sad. He may enjoy immunity, but why anonymity?

Yemeni diplomat kept Indonesian as slave: German ministry

BERLIN (AFP) – A Yemeni diplomat stationed in Berlin treated his Indonesian maid like a domestic slave, the German foreign ministry said on Friday, confirming media reports.

The 30-year-old woman told a German newspaper she was forced to be on call 24 hours a day was beaten by her employer if she failed to work quickly enough.

“I wasn’t allowed to touch the food that I cooked for him. For breakfast I was permitted a slice of bread and in the evening a bowl of rice with tomatoes,” the woman, using the pseudonym Dewi Hasniati, said in the Frankfurter Rundschau.

“I was at his service 24 hours a day without a day off and without pay. If I didn’t work fast enough he hit me.”

She was taken to hospital last year and was diagnosed with tuberculosis and malnutrition. Doctors alerted Ban Ying, a group which helps victims of people trafficking and she was rescued from her ordeal.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said the unnamed diplomat enjoyed immunity from prosecution and “he is still employed at the Yemeni embassy in Berlin.”

The ministry said it was brokering discussions between the two parties with a view to obtaining compensation for the woman.

It said such cases were rare in Germany, but reiterated that foreign diplomats based in the country in Germany are asked to respect the country’s “social norms” in their treatment of domestic staff and pay them a minimum of 750 euros (1,100 dollars) a month.

The woman found employment with the Yemeni diplomat when he was based in Cairo in 2002 and he brought her with him when he was posted to Berlin in 2004.

Ban Ying said most of the domestic staff employed at embassies in Berlin were Asian, with 80 percent coming from the Philippines.


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