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40-year-old jailed for her part in family abuse of intellectually disabled woman, who was chained to the toilet

40-year-old jailed for her part in family abuse of intellectually disabled woman, who was chained to the toilet

Photo illustration of an assault. (Photo illustration: Ngau Kai Yan)

SINGAPORE: Hasniza Ismail, 40, was sentenced to three years' jail on Monday (Feb 1) after she joined her family in torturing an intellectually disabled woman, chaining the woman to the toilet bowl and striking her with a baseball bat. 

Hasniza was also ordered to pay the victim S$1,000 in compensation or serve four more days in jail. 

The prosecution had called for 39 months' jail for Hasniza, who had pleaded guilty to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt by a weapon, wrongful confinement and perverting the course of justice.

The prosecutors called the case an appalling one of "abuse, cruelty and vileness".

The vulnerable victim, said to be a family friend, had sought refuge from the group in 2016 after running away from home. But when she was caught in a compromising position with Hasniza's brother-in-law - the husband of her sister and co-accused Haslinda, the family began abusing her physically and psychologically. 

Because the victim was intellectually challenged, Hasniza thought of her as "easy to eat" and discussed with Haslinda how they could make her their "babu" or slave. 

The two sisters and their mother Hasmah Sulong tortured the victim by twisting her toes with pliers, knocking her teeth out with a hammer and splashing hot water on her groin. 

She suffered burn injuries and blisters, as well as incontinence, but no one sought medical help for her. Instead, they applied Dettol and cream on her wounds.  

READ: Family treated woman as slave, knocked out teeth, poured hot water and chained her to toilet bowl

The woman tried to escape but Haslinda went to the fast food restaurant where she worked and demanded that she follow her home. The victim was unable to leave the family flat after the incident and was made to perform chores and childcare for the family without pay. 

For weeks before she was taken to hospital, the victim was chained half-naked to the toilet bowl sitting in her own excrement and eating off the bathroom floor. 

She was chained in the living room without access to the toilet when Haslinda first accused her of stealing. When she lost control of her bowels, the victim was moved to the toilet. 

The judge said on Monday that Hasniza's role in facilitating the wrongful confinement was "significant", as she had bought the metal chain on her mother's request and had been the one to install the chain on occasion. 

In January 2018, Hasniza noticed that the victim was too weak to get up or eat and had dark liquid flowing from her mouth and nose. A stench was emanating from her, and even after Hasniza had washed her body with 15 bottles of Dettol and with alcohol, she still found the smell unbearable. 

Hasniza finally called for an ambulance after realising that pus was coming out of the victim's wounds. 

The victim required eight hours of resuscitation in the hospital emergency department and was later transferred to another hospital because of her severe burn injuries.

She had burns on 30 per cent of her body, as well as large scalp lacerations, cuts on her face, deformed ears and eye damage.   

Out of the family members involved in the torture, Hasniza is the fourth to be sentenced.

Haslinda's husband was given three weeks' jail in November for slapping the victim's face on Haslinda's instruction. Hasniza's brothers, Muhammad Iskandar Ismail and Muhammad Iski Ismail, were jailed last month. 

Iskandar received two months and four weeks' jail for lying to the police about the case and voluntarily causing hurt, while Iski was jailed for eight months for lying to the police and asking his brother to lie as well.

Haslinda will be sentenced at a later date, with the prosecution calling for nine-and-a-half years' jail, while Hasmah's case is pending in the high court.

For wrongful confinement, Hasniza could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$3,000 or both. For intentionally perverting the course of justice, she could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined or both.

For voluntarily causing hurt by a weapon, she could have been jailed up to seven years and fined. 

She cannot be caned as she is a woman.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)


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