Woman jailed for her part in family abuse of intellectually disabled woman

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Hasniza Ismail, 40, was sentenced to three years’ jail yesterday 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 SGD1,000 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 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.

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 yesterday 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.