Ethiopian maid filmed falling from seventh floor 'trying to escape Kuwaiti employer wanting to kill her'

Tom Embury-Dennis

A maid who was filmed falling from the seventh floor of a building in Kuwait has said she was “trying to escape from the woman who tried to kill me”.

A Kuwaiti national was reportedly detained after she recorded the Ethiopian domestic worker clinging onto the outside of a window ledge with one hand, screaming “hold me, hold me!”

The unnamed worker then fell after her employer made no attempt to help, simply saying “Oh, crazy, come back”. The woman later posted the footage to social media.

Despite the fall, the maid was able to walk away with just a broken arm and bleeding from her nose and ears after hitting a metal awning on the way down, according to the al-Seyassah newspaper.

On Sunday, Ethiopian TV broadcast footage of the maid from her hospital bed. She denied local media reports that she was trying to kill herself.

"The lady put me in the bathroom and was about to kill me in the bathroom without anybody finding out, she would have thrown my body out like rubbish, so instead of staying there I went to save myself and then I fell," she said, according to Middle East Eye.

"Praise be to God, I was protected. And so, what can be done?"

The employer claimed she filmed the ordeal because she did not want to be accused of the maid’s murder if she died, according to reports.

The Kuwaiti Society for Human Rights called for an official investigation, saying there has been “no care for her life”.

The incident prompted a storm of outrage on social media in the region, with the hashtag #Ethiopian_falling trending for two days in the country.

The video has renewed questions over the treatment of domestic servants in Arab countries, where they are employed by many higher income families.

In Kuwait, there are around 600,000 domestic workers, mainly migrants to the oil rich gulf state.

Complaints of abuse are commonplace and the country’s kafala system of visa sponsorship prevents domestic workers from changing jobs without the permission of their employer.

Human Rights Watch says the system “remains a major obstacle to domestic workers’ rights” despite some progress having been made in 2016 to protect them.

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