Salma Emmanuel, 30, a Christian domestic worker in Pakistan was tortured on Sunday, November 6 . She remains in critical condition at a local hospital. According to her husband, Emmanuel Masih, Salma was working in the home of Ghazal Riaz, a woman residing in Abbotabad. Salma is five months pregnant, left gold ornaments weighing around 100 grams for her brother`s wedding for safekeeping at Riaz’s home.
Reportedly, Salma said "On Saturday around 1 AM, Ghazal Riaz called and said that there has been a robbery.” Riaz reported that some 900,000 Rupees ($10,645) and approximately 300 grams of gold ornaments including Salma Riaz`s gold ornaments were missing. "She asked us to come to the house immediately,” said Salma. “We went to Riaz`s place. The police were already there with the sniffer dogs.” Riaz`s brother Jawad, a colonel in Pakistan’s army, was also there. He allegedly pressured the police and threatened the Emmanuel couple. Said Salma, “The police arrested my husband on Col. Jawad`s pressure and took him to the police station."
Then on the afternoon of November 6, police detained Salma Emmanuel without arrest warrants and took her to the local police station. Inspector Nazia and two female subordinates severely tortured Salma continuously for three hours, forcing her to confess her involvement in the robbery.
"I was in severe pain, I kept saying that I and my husband are innocent, but they kept kicking me," said Salma."They kept threatening me that they will kill me and my child if I will not confess. The female officers kept saying that Riaz and her brother are very influential, they will have us killed and no one will even come to know about it. They severely tortured me, when I was almost unconscious they called a male officer and sent me home." said Salma in tears. The police have denied the allegations of illegal arrest and torture.
The police released Salma following the beating. When she reached home, her condition became worse and the family immediately took her to the Benazir Shaheed Hospital. The Medical Officer in charge confirmed that Salma had been tortured and her unborn child was in extreme danger. , she wouldn`t be able to make it.
The Masihi Foundation, and Life for All Pakistan, issued a joint statement, "This is not a first incident where a maid has been illegally detained and tortured. On January 23, 2010, an innocent 12-year old child Shazia was reported to have been tortured to death. She had been employed as a maid in Advocate Naeem’s house in Lahore.” The two human rights advocacy groups reported further that on April 15, 2010 “Sumera Pervaiz, 14 years old Christian maid working at Wing Commander Faheem Cheema house in Pakistan Air Force Islamabad base colony, was illegally detained and tortured."
" Unfortunately the authorities didn’t take any action because the people involved were influential and were able to pressurize the legal system. These people have made the society hostage and feel that they can do anything they want. "
Furthermore, declared the statement " It is indeed a sad incident, the wife is in the hospital in a critical condition and the husband is at an un-disclosed location. Once again the influentials in the society have used their influence against the weak and over powered the law... the concerned authorities have put a deaf ear to it and are the silent observers of the massive abuse of the human rights. They have nearly taken an innocent life which was yet to come to the world. The Christian domestic workers are raped, kidnapped, tortured and killed, yet the authorities claim that the minorities are given equal rights."