How Beatrice Waruguru, 21, was tortured in Saudi Arabia, postmortem shows

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Beatrice Waruguru, 21, died in unclear circumstances in Saudi Arabia. [Pkemoi Ng’enoh, Standard]

A postmortem conducted on the body of Beatrice Waruguru, who died in Saudi Arabia late last year, indicates that she was tortured to death.

Waruguru’s neck had strangulation marks and her body was dehydrated and undernourished by the time she died, the autopsy conducted at the Kenyatta University Funeral Home showed.

“The autopsy suggested that a rope was used in strangling her. At the same time, her body was feeble from prolonged starvation,” said her kin Mercy Wambui, who was present during the autopsy.

“The pathologists, in their report, summarised that Beatrice was tortured to death.”

Her eyes, the pathologists confirmed, had been gouged out, and torture marks, including burn scars, were also visible on different parts of her body.

The Thursday afternoon autopsy was conducted by two pathologists and witnessed by a police officer and family members.

Sometime in December last year, Waruguru, 21, communicated with her family, reporting that she was being tortured by her employers in Saudi Arabia.

Her confidant, Wambui, says an employment agency that facilitated her travel to the Middle East colluded with Waruguru’s employers to cover up her plight.

The 21-year-old woman’s phone, Wambui said, became unreachable towards the end of December 2021.

Saudi authorities said Waruguru died by suicide.

James Mathenge, who is also Waruguru’s relative, said their kin would call regularly in late 2021 while in tears, narrating how she was being mistreated in the Middle East nation.

“At one time, she told us that her employer had burnt her using a hot iron box,” said Mathenge.

On Saturday, May 7, Waruguru’s family was informed that their daughter’s body had been processed for transportation from Saudi Arabia, and was set to arrive in the country on May 11 at 1:30pm.

On Wednesday, May 11, the family, for several hours, refused to sign a form that would allow them to collect Waruguru’s body.

They said they were being forced to sign the form without first ascertaining whether the body was that of their kin.

JKIA officials, however, maintained that they couldn’t allow the family to view the body at the facility, saying it was against airport policy.

Waruguru left Kenya for Saudi Arabia in February 2021, but died under unclear circumstances in December that year.

When Waruguru’s family arrived at the JKIA on Wednesday, May 11, they were told to first sign body-receipt forms before her remains could be handed over to them.

Waruguru’s employment representative was supposed to witness the signing of body-receipt documents.

“We were told that we could only view the body after signing the receipt documents,” said Mercy Wanjiru, the deceased’s mother.

“The body, which I’m not sure is that of my daughter, had been wrapped like a luggage. The airport officers told us to accept it and go view it at the mortuary,” she added on Wednesday.

Wanjiru said at the time that they won’t accept a body which wasn’t their kinsperson’s.

The deceased’s close confidant Mercy Wambui said Waruguru left Kenya for Saudi Arabia shortly after completing her secondary education.

“She never told me how she secured the deal to travel to Saudi Arabia,” said Wambui.

She, however, suspects that Waruguru was directed to an employment agent by a broker.

During the stand-off over body collection, the Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK) representative, Josephine Muriuki, said they’d alert authorities that Waruguru’s body arrived at the JKIA, but her family refused to collect it.

JKIA officials, who spoke to The Standard in confidence, said the airport does not have body storage facilities.

After five hours of stand-off, at around 6pm Wednesday, Waruguru’s family agreed to collect the body after signing the receipt forms.

They were not allowed to view the body on site. The Standard reported at the time that her remains were taken to the Kenyatta University Funeral Home pending autopsy.

Source : The Standard Kenya