An appeals court in the United Arab Emirates acquitted a maid from the Philippines of the murder of her employer and scrapped her death sentence, the Philippines Foreign Ministry and UAE media said on Tuesday.
The maid, 30, was sentenced to death by a lower tribunal in the city of Al Ain in May 2015 for fatally stabbing her Emirati employer in 2014, UAE-based newspaper The National said. She had argued she was acting in self defence after he tried to rape her, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
An appeals court in al-Ain on Monday overturned the verdict, convicted her only of stealing a mobile telephone and handed her a five-year jail term, the statement said, identifying her as Jennifer Dalquez.
“Ms. Dalquez was declared innocent without ‘diyyah’ or payment of blood money,” the statement said. It said she would serve the jail sentence minus the time she had already spent in prison.
Officials at al-Ain Federal Appeal Court were not immediately available for comment.
Hundreds of thousands of domestic workers from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Ethiopia work in the UAE, according to Human Rights Watch.
The UAE’s Federal National Council last month approved a new draft law which the rights group said was a step forward in improving living conditions for domestic workers, noting that enforcement mechanisms were needed.
It also said improvements to the bill were required to bring the country into line with the International Labour Organisation’s Workers Convention.