Despite Enslavement and Horrific Injuries, Hayek Family Worker’s Death Declared Suicide

Unpaid for 14 months, Desta supposedly tied her own noose with horribly injured hands. Another suspicious death called a ‘suicide’.

Worker

Desta Tafesse

Went to Work at the Hayek’s; Returned Home in a Coffin

Employers

Helou & Wafaa Hayek

Owns a House in Ehmej and Flat in Byblos

THE STORY

“She loved life and she loved her family,” Tigist Tafesse says while fighting back tears when asked to describe her late sister Desta.

“All she wanted to do was earn enough money to cover her younger brother’s schooling expenses. She didn’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this.”

Tigist’s younger sister Desta, 26, had left her native Ethiopia in search of employment as a domestic worker in Lebanon. It’s a route that many young Ethiopian women take in search of income that could potentially revamp the livelihoods of impoverished families back home. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have flocked to Lebanon over the past decades. And while some do manage to earn a living and send valuable remittances to loved ones in Ethiopia, an increasing number of them are instead entrapped in a cycle of isolation, endless unpaid toiling, food deprivation, horrific abuse and all too often, death.


It was the tragic fate of Desta, who had spent over a year at the home of a Lebanese couple in the city of Byblos, some 30 kilometers north of Beirut. .

Desta Tafesse

Her employers were Mr. Helou Hayek and his wife Wafaa Hayek who reside at the Kouba building, near the official high school, Byblos.  Mr Hayek’s phone number is +9613621686. Over the course of the last year and a half of her life, Tigist says her sister was never allowed to leave the house and was subjected to ghastly abuse

“They burnt her, beat her and kept her as a slave all this time,” Tigist laments. “I tried everything I could to rescue her.”

Tigist contacted nearby friends in a desperate attempt to hatch an escape plot. She had initially attempted to solicit the aid of a worker’s rights organization in Lebanon, but Desta had begged her not to. She feared that doing so would enrage her captors and result in brutal repercussions for her.


Desta died an untimely death on May 12 2019, after toiling for 14 months without pay. Her death wasn’t considered worthy of a Lebanese police investigation. As is normal in Lebanon, her death was classified as a suicide.

Note: Click to see image. Warning: graphic violence.

Desta Tafesse Bedane was horribly scalded on both hands, the result of extreme torture, according to her sister Tigist

Lebanese police appear unwilling to prosecute anyone suspected of migrant worker abuse, no matter how obvious her mistreatment was. 

Prior to her tragic death, Desta, who had limited contact with her family, sent her sister Tigist gruesome images showing horrific burn injuries to her hands on Whatsapp. Heavily bandaged and incapacitated, Desta’s suffering reached its peak in her final days at the Hayek family home, which were also the final days of her life.

Despite being left with injuries that would appear to have rendered it impossible to even grasp objects with her hands, the Lebanese police decided not to question her employers’ claim that she used those same incapacitated hands to make a noose out of an electrical cord and hang herself. The full Lebanese police report, which we’ve obtained here, includes a medical examination by a forensic specialist in Dr. Elias Al Khoury. 

Strangely enough, even Dr. Elias is noted as having acknowledged Desta’s burn wounds and bandaged hands, which he states were likely the result of an electrocution. But he still somehow concludes that Desta, bandaged and injured hands, mustered up the strength needed to hang herself.

Translation of autopsy from the police report.

Original police report.

Desta worked seven days a week and had not been paid for 14 months. Helou and Wafaa Hayak, who are confirmed to have enslaved a young woman confining her to their home for over a year, got off scot free, despite evidence pointing to additional mistreatment and horrific abuse meted out against their employee.

“I didn’t even care about her being paid anymore, I just wanted her out of there alive.” – Tigist

“I still haven’t come to terms with my sister’s death,” her sister Tigist Tafesse says.

Helou and Wafaa Hayek never paid Desta during the year and a half or so she spent working in their home. With the paltry $150 US monthly rate which Ethiopian domestic workers are hired under, the Hayek family currently owes Desta’s family over $2000 US, which of course doesn’t take into account damages for the confinement and any horrendous abuse suffered.

The People

“They burnt her, beat her and kept her as a slave all this time,” Tigist laments. “I tried everything I could to rescue her.”

Helou Hayek

Employer of Desta. Allegedly responsible for committing abuse that culminated in Desta’s untimely death.

Wafaa Hayek

Wife of Helou and employer of Desta. Also allegedly responsible for Desta’s injuries to her hands.

Female Silhouette
Tigist Tafesse

Reported on the case of her sister to This Is Lebanon and desperately tried to save her.

Desta Tafesse

26 year old Ethiopian Migrant Domestic Worker who went to work in Lebanon to help pay for her younger brother’s education fees.

TAKE ACTION

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COMMENTS

القصة

 أديس أبابا، 25 تموز 2019 – «كانت تحب الحياة كما أنها أحبت عائلتها أيضاً»، تقول تيغيست تافيس وهي تحبس دموعها حين طُلِب منها أن تصف أختها الراحلة ديستا. «كل ما أرادت فعله هو أن تكسب ما يكفي من المال لتغطية نفقات تعليم أخيها الأصغر. لم تكن تستحق هذا. لا أحد يستحق هذا».

  كانت ديستا، شقيقة تيغيست الصغرى، 26 سنة، قد تركت وطنها إثيوبيا بحثاً عن عمل كمساعدة منزلية في لبنان. وهو طريق تسلكه الكثيرات من الشابات الإثيوبيات سعياً وراء دخلٍ يمكن أن يكون مصدراً جديداً لكسب الرزق لدى العائلات الفقيرة في الوطن. وقد تدفقت مئات الآلاف من الإثيوبيات إلى لبنان على مدى العقود الماضية. وبينما تتمكن بعضهن من كسب لقمة العيش وتحويل مبالغ قيّمة إلى أحبائهن في إثيوبيا، فإن أعداداً متزايدة منهن تقع في شرك دوامة من العزلة والكدح الدائم والحرمان من الطعام والانتهاكات المروّعة وفي كثير من الأحيان الموت. 

وكان هذا هو المصير المأساوي للعاملة دستا التي مكثت لأكثر من عام في منزل زوجين لبنانيين في مدينة جبيل، تبعد حوالي 30 كيلومتراً شمال بيروت. كان صاحب العمل هو السيد حايك حلو، بناء القبة، قرب المدرسة الثانوية الرسمية، جبيل. رقم هاتف السيد حلو هو 9613621686+. تقول تيغيست إنه على مدار العام الماضي، لم يُسمح لشقيقتها بمغادرة المبنى إطلاقاً وأنها تعرضت لانتهاكات مروّعة. 

«لقد أحرقوها وضربوها واحتفظوا بها عبدة طوال هذه المدة»، تقول تيغيست بحسرة. «حاولتُ كل ما في وسعي لإنقاذها».

 اتصلت تيغيست بأصدقاء في الجوار في محاولة يائسة لتدبير خطة هروب. وحاولت في البداية التماس مساعدة منظمة حقوق العمال في لبنان، لكن ديستا توسلت إليها ألا تفعل   ذلك. إذ كانت تخشى أن يثير ذلك غضب آسريها وتكون ردة فعلهما وحشية عليها.  

جاءت وفاة ديستا بشكل مفاجئ في 12 أيار، بعد أن شقيت كادحة مدة 14 شهراً دون أجر. لم يكن موتها يستحق تحقيقاً من قبل الشرطة اللبنانية. وكما هي العادة في لبنان، تم تصنيف وفاتها على أنها انتحار. 

يبدو أن الشرطة اللبنانية لا ترغب في محاكمة أي شخص يُشتبَه به في إساءة معاملته لعاملة مهاجرة، بغض النظر عن مدى وضوح سوء معاملتها. وعلى الرغم من تعرضها لإصابات كان يبدو أنه يستحيل عليها حتى إمساك الأشياء بيديها، قررت الشرطة اللبنانية عدم التشكيك في ادعاء صاحب العمل أنها استخدمت تلك الأيدي العاجزة نفسها لصنع حبل مشنقة من سلك كهربائي وشنق نفسها. عملت ديستا سبعة أيام في الأسبوع ولم تحصل على أجرها مدة 14 شهراً. تقول شقيقتها تيغيست تافيس: «لم أكن حتى مهتمة بأن تتقاضى رواتبها، بل كنت أريد فقط أن تخرج من هناك على قيد الحياة. ولم أزل حتى الآن غير متقبلة لوفاة أختي».

ديستا تافيسي بدهان. كانت محنتها التي عاشتها قبل وفاتها مباشرة مؤلمة للغاية (الصور: تيغيست تافيسي)

هل يمكن أن تكون ديستا قد ربطت حبل مشنقتها بهذه الأيدي المصابة؟

በአማርኛ ለማንበብ

“ቤተሰቦቿን እጅግ በጣም አድርጋ የምትወድ እህቴ ነበረች” ትላለች ወጣት ትግስት ታፈሰ ስለ እህቷ ሲነሳ። የትግስት ታናሽ እህት ደስታ ታፈሰ ስራ ፍለጋ ወደ ሊባኖስ ከተሰደዱ በርካታ ኢትዮጵያውያን እህቶቻችን አንዷ ስትሆን የዛሬ 2 ዓመት ገደማ የ26 ዓመቷ ደስታ በአሰሪዎቿ ቤት እያለች በወቅቱ ባልታወቀ ምክንያት ህይወቷ አጥታለች። “ሰርቼ ተለውጬ ወንድሜንም አስተምሯለሁ ትለን ነበር” ብላ እያነባች አስረድታናለች እህቷ ትግስት። “ወጥቶ መቅረቱ ፈጽሞ አይገባትም ነበር ውዷ እህቴ።” 


እንደ ደስታ ታፈሰ በዳኔ ያሉት በመቶ ሺህዎች የሚቆጠሩ ኢትዮጵያውያን እህቶቻችን ኑሮ ለማሸነፍ ወላጅ የመጦር እቅድ ይዘው ከሃገራቸው ተነስተው ወደ መካከለኛው ምስራቅ ተሰድደዋል። በአሁኑ ሰዓት በሀገረ ሊባኖስ ያሉት የኢትዮጵያውያን ቤት ሰራተኞች ቁጥር ከ3 መቶ ሺህ በላይ ነው ተብሎ ይገመታል። በሊባኖስ ያሉት ስደተኞቹ እህቶቻችን መካከል ተቀጥረው ገንዘብ አጠራቅመው ተለውጠው ወደ ሃገራቸው የሚመለሱ ዜጎች አሉ። ሆኖም ግን ሳይቀናቸው በአሰሪዎቻቸው ደሞዝ ተከልክለው የቤት በር ተዘግቶባቸው ተርበው የሰብዓዊ መብት ጥሰት ሰለባ ሆነው የሚንከራተቱ ህይወታቸውንም የሚያጡ ከኢትዮጵያና ከመላው አፍሪካና እሲያ የሚመጡ በርካታ ምስኪን ስደተኞች አሉ።  


በሊባኖስ በየ ሳምንቱ በአማካኙ 2 የሰው ቤት ሰራተኞች ህይወት ይቀጠፋል። በሊባኖስ ባለው “ከፈላ” ተብሎ የሚጠራው የህግ አሰራር ሊባኖሳዊ አሰሪዎች ለሰራተኞቻቸው ሞትና ስቃይ በህግ እንዳይጠየቁ ከለላ ይሰጣችዋል። 


ወጣቷ ኢትዮጵያዊት ደስታ ታፈሰ በሊባኖስ ዋና ከተማ ቤሩት የ30 ኪሎሜትር ርቀት ላይ የሚገኘው የቢብሎስ ከተማ ስራ ታገኛለች። በቢብሎስ ከተማ ከሁለተኛ ደረጃው ትምህርት ቤት ቅርብ የሆነው የኩባ ህንጻ አከባቢ በሙሉ ስሙ ሄሉ ሃየክ ተብሎ የሚጠራ ሊባኖሳዊ አሰሪና ባለቤቱ ዋፋ ሃየክ ቤት ገብታ መስራት ትጀምራለች። ሄሉ ሃየክ የተባለው አሰሪ ስልክ ቁጥሩ እንደሚከተለው ነው +9613621686።


እንደ ታላቅ እህቷ ትግስት ታፈሰ አገላለጽ ደስታ ስራዋን በጥር 2010 ዓም ጀምራ በአንድ ዓመት ተኩል ቆይታዋ በሳምንት ስባቱን ቀን እየፈጋች ከቤት መውጣቱ እረፍት መውሰዱ ተከልክላ አንዴም እንኳን ደሞዝ ሳትቀበል ኢትዮጵያ ላሉት ቤተሰቦቿ ገንዘብ ለመላክ አላበቃችም። በአንድ ዓመት ተኩል ቆይታዋ በፈረቃ እህቷ ትግስትን በስልክ ይገናኙ እንደነበርና በአሰሪዎቿ ቤት ደስታ እጅግ በጣም ትሰቃይ እንደነበርም ጨምራ አካፍላናለች። 

“ደስታን በባርነት እያንከራተቷት ደስ ሲላቸው እየደበደቧት፤ ያቃጥላትም ነበር። ያለውን ስታስረዳኝ እጅግ በጣም እጨነቅና እንቅልፍ ይሰናስኝ ስለነበር እህቴ ከአሰሪዎቿ ቤት የምታመልትበት ሁኔታ ለማመቻቸት ሞከርኩ።”

ትግስት የምታደርገውን ስታጣ በአከባቢው የሚኖሩ ኢትዮጵያውያን ጋር እየደወለች ትብብራቸውን ትለምን ነበር። እህቷ ተስፋ እንዳትቆርጥ እያጽናናቻት በሊባኖስ ወዳሉት የሰበዓዊ መብት ድርጅቶች የመደወል እቅድ እንደነበራትም ለእህቷ ታካፍላለች። ደስታ ይሄንን በሰማች ወቅት እጅግ በጣም ደንግጣ እህቷ ስለሁኔታዋ ለማንም እንዳትተነፍስ ታስጠነቅቃታለች። ገመናቸው ቢጋለጥ ይገሉኛል ብላ ትፈራ እንደነበር ለእህቷ አካፍላለች።


ግንቦት 4 ዕለት 2010 ዓም ደስታ ታፈሰ በዳኔ ከዚህ ዓለም በሞት ተለየችን። ለአንድ ዓመት ተኩል እንደ እስረኛ ተይዛ በዙ ስቃይ አይታ ህይወቷ ቢቀጠፍም የሊባኖስ ፖሊስ ጉዳዩን ላለመመርመር ወስኖ እንኳን ለህግ መቅረብ የካሳ ኢንሹራንስ ክፍያ እንኳን ለቤተሰብ ያደረሰ አካል የለም። የሊባኖስ ፖሊስ የረባ ምርመራ ሳያካሄድ ደስታ እራሷን አጥፍታ መሞቷን መዝግበው አስቀመጡ። 


በሊባኖስ ያሉት የሰው ቤት ሰራተኞች ዘግናኝ አሟሟት በመረጃ ቢደገፍም ፖሊስ ለሰው ቤት ሰራተኞች ላላቸው ዝቅተኛ እይታ እና በሃገሪቷ ባለው የከፈላ አሰራር ምክንያት ግልጽ የሆነ ወንጀል ተፈጽሞ ፖሊስ አስክሬን ለኢትዮጵያ ቆንስላ ከማስረከብ ውጪ ሌላ እርምጃ አይወስድም።  


ከመሞቷ ጥቂት ቀናት በፊት ደስታ ተቃጥላ በእጆቿ የደረሳት አስከፊ ጉዳትና ጠባሳ ፎቶዎች አንስታ በዋትሳፕ ያለውን ለእህቷ ትግስት ትልካለች። እነዚህ ለማየት የሚዘገንኑ ፎቶዎች ደስታ እጆቿ ተጎድተው ከጥቅም ውጪ ሆነው እንደነበሩ ያሳያሉ። ሆኖም ግን በስሟ የተከፈተው የሊባኖስ ፖሊስ መዝገብ ደስታ አሰሪዎቿ ባልነበሩበት ወቅት በነዚህ በተቃጠሉት እጆቿ ገመድ አስራ እራሷን አንቃ እንደሞተች ይገልጻል። በትንሹ አሳማኝ በሆነ መንገድ ለመዋሸት አለመጣራቸው በፖሊስና በመንግስት ደረጃ ለሰው ቤት ሰራተኞች ያለው ንቀት ጎላ አድርጎ የሚያሳይ ነው። 


“እኔ እህቴ ከነነፍሷ ከነዛ አረመኔዎች ቤት ወጥታ ወደ ሃገሯ እንድትመለስ ነበር ፍላጎታችን። የ14 ወር ደሞዟ ጉዳይ በጭራሽ ለደቂቃ እንኳን አላሳሰበንም ነበር። የደስታ ሞት እስካሁን ድረስ መቀበሉ አቅቶኛል።” -ታላቅ እህቷ ትግስት ታፈሰ በዳኔ። 

Desta Tafesse

ከማረፏ ጥቂት ቀናት በፊት ደስታ በእጆቿ የደረሳት አስከፊ ጉዳት የሚያሳዩ እነዚህ ሁለት ፎቶዎች ለእህቷ በዋትሳፕ ልካ ነበር።  እንደ ሊባኖስ ፖሊስ አቋም እህታችን ደስታ እጆቿ በዚህ ሁኔታ በነበሩበት ነው ገመድ በአንገቷ አሳስራ እራሷን ያነቀችው። ማንን የሸወዱ መስልዋቸው ነው ግን?

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