Mistreated Kenyan returns from Saudi Arabia

 Mistreated Kenyan returns from Saudi Arabia

A Kenyan woman whose story of cruelty at the hands of an employer in Saudi Arabia had angered many has arrived back home.

Diana Chepkemoi had an emotional reunion with her family and supporters on Tuesday afternoon at the main airport in the capital, Nairobi.

“I left Kenya to go to Saudi Arabia with the hope of getting a better life. Mine is just a tip of the iceberg, people are suffering…. I am pleading with the government to do something, help them, they are suffering,” she told reporters.

She added that she faced “psychological abuse”, saying her employer told her she was “bought” and “anything” could be done to her.

Ms Chepkemoi’s mother said she was “very grateful” for her daughter’s return, adding that the 24 year old was in a “critical condition”.

“I was helpless, I thank everyone who has facilitated the return of Diana home alive,” Clara Cherotich said.

Photos of the former university student shared on social media over the weekend showed Ms Chepkemoi looking listless and emaciated, far from her radiant self before she left the country in June last year.

This led to her family as well as Kenyans on social media campaigning for her release.

Her local MP, Brighton Yegon, who was among the group at the airport, said he would table a motion in parliament banning workforce export to Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, the Kenyan embassy in Riyadh said in a statement that following the outcry, Ms Chepkemoi was picked from her employer’s house and rushed to a top-level hospital for a check-up. She was later discharged and referred to a specialised hospital for a further diagnosis where she was given a clean bill of health.

“The only difference is that I got the courage to speak out. It’s a shame being told that there is nothing your government can do,” Ms Chepkemoi told reporters.

In 2021 a report submitted by the foreign affairs ministry indicated that 89 Kenyans, the majority of them domestic workers, died in Saudi Arabia.