An Ethiopian domestic worker, who was caught on tape being beaten by a man outside her country’s general consulate, has committed suicide at a psychiatric hospital.
The National News Agency said Wednesday that a consulate representative was at a police station in Beirut checking on how to file a lawsuit against the owner of the woman’s employment agency, when Antelias police said Alem Dechasa, 33, hanged herself using her bed sheets.
The prosecution will follow-up the case on Thursday.
Last week, the government condemned the abuse of the mother of two and called for an investigation to refer the culprits to justice.
The condemnation came after LBC TV obtained mobile phone footage of a man hitting the woman and pulling her hair under the gaze of bystanders outside the Ethiopian general consulate in Beirut.
Najla Shahda, from the nonprofit organization Caritas, told As Safir daily on Thursday, that the psychological problems Dechasa was suffering from did not justify her abuse.
She was admitted to De la Croix psychiatric hospital, known as Deir al-Salib, on Feb. 25, Shahda said.
Dechasa had reportedly worked at three homes but the employers had returned her to the employment agency.
As Safir said the man in the footage was the brother of the owner of the employment agency. He claimed he was forcing her into the car after she jumped out of the window.
Many of the estimated 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Lebanon hail from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Ethiopia.
Although the Lebanese government issued a decree in 2009 that requires employers to abide by a set of rules including paying workers their salary in full at the end of each month and giving them one day off a week, advocacy groups say few employers respect these conditions.
In rare cases in the past few years, an employer was sentenced to 15 days in jail for repeatedly beating a Filipina worker and another sentenced to one month for abusing a Sri Lankan maid and confining her to the house.
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