Singapore— A man and his wife, both permanent residents of Singapore, have been found guilty of abusing their domestic helper for two months when she worked for them in 2016. The helper tried to escape from the couple’s abuse by climbing onto a window ledge. She was seen and rescued by a painter while perched on the ledge.
The couple, Mohammed Tasleem and Farha Tehseen, appeared in court on Tuesday, June 9.
Their domestic helper Amandeep Kaur, had travelled from her hometown in Punjab, India, to work for Mr Tasleem and Ms Tehseen. However, in the two months that the helper worked for the couple, she was hit with several items including a broomstick, a rolling pin, shower head, heated tongs, as well as slapped and punched by both husband and wife.
Between the couple, it was the wife who inflicted the most abuse. Farha Tehseen has been convicted of 10 counts of voluntarily causing hurt to the domestic helper, who was 27 at the time that she worked for the couple. Ms Amandeep has a scar on her arm from where Ms Tehseen applied heated tongs after accusing the helper of not making chapati the right way.
The husband has also been found guilty of two charges for punching the helper in her face and on her waist.
The domestic helper moved from India to Singapore in November 2016. She lived with the couple and their two sons, who were two and six years old at that time.
Ms Amandeep had signed a contract with the wife that showed she was employed to work for the couple for two years, caring for the couple’s sons and cleaning their flat.
The domestic helper said during the trial that the wife mistreated her by beating her and scolding her daily. When she asked why she was being treated so badly, the wife said “Because I’m the one who called for you to come here. I can do whatever I wish them (sic) to you.“
Ms Tehseen also accused the helper of having an affair with her husband.
Ms Amandeep escaped the couple’s flat on December 31, 2016, after the wife kicked her twice on her back, causing her to fall over. She then pulled the helper’s hair and punched her on the nose. She also hit Ms Amandeep’s head against the wall, slapped her and threw her on the floor. She took one of her children’s toys, which was shaped like a stick, and hit the helper’s legs with it.
The wife then told her to iron some clothes, adding that if she was unable to finish the chores she was told to do, the wife would beat her with the toy and throw her out the window. She also said that she would tell everyone that Ms Amandeep is mentally unhinged so that no one would believe her.
After the couple and their children left home to go to the park, Ms Amandeep packed her suitcase. She was unable to leave by the front door because the couple had locked her in and took the keys. She put her suitcase on the ledge of the fourth floor, all the while in tears. She then climbed on the ledge.
A couple passing by saw Ms Amandeep and heard her crying out for help. They then called the painter, who was nearby, to help her climb down from the ledge.
After that, the domestic helper was placed at the Good Shepherd Crisis Center. Her employers denied all of the allegations of abuse and said that it was Ms Amandeep who did a bad job in their home and also had a bad attitude. They accused her of wanting to implicate them falsely of abuse so that she can stay in Singapore.
The couple will be back in court for sentencing on August 21. They’re facing a jail sentence of up to two years for every charge of voluntarily causing Ms Amandeep hurt. They can also be fined up to S$5,000 or receive a combination of both penalties. And since the victim is a helper, these penalties may be increased by up to one and a half times. -/TISG
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