Australia Alleged slave's hospital bed interviews
Trial begins for accused Melbourne slavers
A trial has begun in Melbourne for a couple accused of possessing a woman as a slave, with allegations they seriously interfered with her fundamental rights.The woman had a temperature of just 28.5 degrees and was suffering from sepsis when she was rushed to hospital in a serious condition in July 2015.
A woman allegedly kept as a slave by a Melbourne couple for eight years told police she wasn't allowed to leave their home, slept only an hour a night and never received a wage for her work.
The woman said in a video interview that she came to Australia in 2007 as part of an agreement made between her son-in-law in India and a Mount Waverley couple who wanted help to look after their children.
She was rushed to hospital in 2015 in an emaciated condition, weighing just 40kg and suffering from sepsis and untreated diabetes.
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For more than 300 years Muslims have influenced the story of the US – from the ‘founding fathers’ to blues music today.Omar ibn Said, a Muslim, was born in 1770 in Senegal and by the time of his death, he had been enslaved for 56 years. In 2021, Omar, an opera about his life, will premiere at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.
The couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, are on trial in Victoria's Supreme Court, accused of possessing the woman as a slave throughout that period.
The woman gave six interviews to investigators from her hospital bed in 2015.
In the first, dressed in a blue hospital gown, she told investigators she had come to work for the family so she could earn money for herself and her family.
She said her family in India were sent money three times totalling 30,000 Indian rupees - about $A975 - but she never received a salary from the family.
The family told her they would take her back to India and give her money there, she said.
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But she also said the woman would push her around and tell her "I'm going to send you back in a box - in a coffin".
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“It was out in the country, far from home, far from my foster home, on a dark Sunday night. The road wandered from our rambling log‑house up the stony bed of a creek, past wheat and corn, until we could hear dimly across the fields a rhythmic cadence of song,—soft, thrilling, powerful, that swelled and died sorrowfully in our ears. I was a country schoolteacher then, fresh from the East, and had never seen a Southern Negro revival. To be sure, we in Berkshire were not perhaps as stiff and formal as they in Suffolk of olden time; yet we were very quiet and subdued, and I know not what would have happened those clear Sabbath mornings had some one punctuated the sermon with a wild scream,
She said her daughter's husband once told her that when he asked the woman for money she told him he should prostitute his wife instead of asking them for money.
The jury heard that the wife would leave the woman, now in her 60s, with a list of things to do during the day.
She would do loads of washing, cooking and cleaning with "not even one second" for rest, she said.
"Before (the wife) left she will set me some jobs to do. And I have to get everything done before she came (home)," she said through a Tamil translator.
The woman got just an hour of sleep a night and was allowed to shower "maybe once a week" because showering daily would waste water, she told investigators.
She said she wasn't allowed to leave the home, or even open the door, but sometimes the couple took her out with them.
"Sometimes they will take me out for the shopping if they went for shopping sometimes," she said.
"When there is a lot things to buy they will take me, to carry things. Once in a while."
Her evidence is expected to take several days.
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Today we got another three inches of snow on top of the two feet already blanketing the yard. While I sit inside, watching this fresh hell descending, I pass the time dreaming of a small, sunny island off the coast of South Carolina. I don’t just think about Daufuskie Island when it’s miserable outside. Since I visited for the first time a year and a half ago, I have thought about it a lot in fair weather and foul alike. Like all places marinating in their own history, it is light and shadow, bitter and sweet. There is something beguiling about it, and something haunting. Once it gets its hooks in you, it doesn’t turn you loose.