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Sob: Judge Denies NY Slaver Xmas Bail

From Long Island’s Newsday:

Judge orders woman to jail in LI slave case


December 21, 2007

A federal judge in Central Islip ordered Varsha Sabhnani to jail yesterday, days after a jury found her guilty of enslaving and torturing two domestic workers at her Muttontown home.

But her husband, Mahender, who was also convicted of the same 12 counts Monday by a federal jury, was returned to house arrest at the couple’s Gold Coast home until he and his wife are sentenced on March 28.

Varsha Sabhnani rested her head on her husband’s shoulder as District Judge Arthur Spatt read his decision, then broke down as marshals led her out of the courtroom.

“Judge, please!” she said through tears after Spatt denied her attorney’s request that she be allowed to remain home through Christmas. “Judge, please change your mind.”

As she did when the jury’s verdict was read Monday, the Sabhnanis’ daughter, Dakshina, slumped in a seat behind her parents and cried uncontrollably as her mother was led away.

“Papa!” she said. “Please do something and bring Mama back!” …

While both Mahender and Varsha Sabhnani were found guilty of federal charges of forced labor, debt servitude and harboring illegal immigrants, jurors found that Varsha Sabhnani, 46, caused “serious bodily injury” to the two Indonesian women, Spatt said to a packed courtroom…

The Sabhnanis each face nearly 20 years in prison for enslaving the two women, Enung and Samirah, for five years at their 5,898- square-foot home…

Varsha Sabhnani’s attorney, Jeffrey Hoffman, said the couple’s four children are upset. “It’s Christmas – their mother is in jail and they’re not going to be with her,” he said

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko said the couple’s three daughters had knowledge of their parents’ enslavement of Samirah and Enung, and Dakshina Sabhnani was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator…

But… It’s Christmas!

Here are some of the grisly details of the tortures Ms. Sabhnani doled out, from an article published last May in the New York Post:



May 16, 2007

… [The two Indonesian Muslim women slaves] then began working 21-hour days as house servants, and when they were allowed to sleep for the remaining three hours in the day, it was on thin, 3-by-6-foot white mats on the floor of one of the home’s two kitchens, the women said.

Beatings were routinely administered either in the laundry room or bathroom, they said, with “a rolling pin, bamboo stick and a broomstick.” Samirah said Varsha also tossed scalding water on her.

The feds noted in court papers that Samirah “bears highly visible scars that appear to be permanent over much of her body.

“She also has deep, open knife wounds behind her ears, which were inflicted by [Varsha].”

Samirah also showed cops at the house “a door stained with [her] blood that was the result of an injury sustained during a beating” by Varsha, according to court papers.

The abused women were starved to the point that they began hiding food, authorities said.

The second victim, identified only as “Nona,” led authorities to the spot above a drop-ceiling panel in one of the kitchens where she stashed her meager but treasured personal belongings, as well as snacks she could sneak from the kitchen.

Nona told authorities she was once forced to strip naked and take as many as 10 icy showers in a row for “perceived wrongdoing.”

She said that at one point, Varsha warned her that if she ever tried to flee, she would “use her considerable financial resources to ensure that Indonesian police jailed [her] and [her] husband, who is in Indonesia.”

Whenever strangers came to the home, the terrified women said, they were ordered to hide in the basement or garage.

They were allowed out only at night – to take out the garbage…

Yes, it is heartbreaking that this woman would miss the holidays with her children.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, December 21st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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