Three years’ jail for Singapore woman who joined family in horrific abuse of low-IQ friend, chained her to wall

Hasniza Ismail discussed with her younger sister how to make Nursadiqah Sanusi their slave. The family chained Nursadiqah up till she could no longer control her bowels, forcing her to sit in her own faeces and urine and eat off the bathroom floor. — R Martinez/Unsplash pic via TODAY
Hasniza Ismail discussed with her younger sister how to make Nursadiqah Sanusi their slave. The family chained Nursadiqah up till she could no longer control her bowels, forcing her to sit in her own faeces and urine and eat off the bathroom floor. — R Martinez/Unsplash pic via TODAY

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SINGAPORE, Feb 1 — Knowing that a family friend was intellectually disabled, Hasniza Ismail discussed with her younger sister how to make her their slave and beat her for perceived slights such as being unhygienic or lying.

The family’s abuse of Nursadiqah Sanusi, 30, eventually escalated into assaults with weapons such as pliers, which they used to knock out her teeth and twist her toes.

They also chained her up at night and threatened to call her a thief if she tried to escape.

When Nursadiqah was near death and had to be taken to the hospital, Hasniza told her family members to lie about the abuse.

Today, Hasniza, 39, became the fourth person in her family to be jailed over the horrific abuse.

She was sentenced to three years’ jail after pleading guilty earlier this year to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, wrongful confinement and obstruction of justice.

She also has to pay Nursadiqah S$1,000 in compensation or serve another four days behind bars.

Seven other charges of causing hurt and giving false information to the police were considered for sentencing.

Hasniza’s younger sister, Haslinda Ismail, is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday. Their mother Hasmah Sulong’s case is still pending.

One of their brothers — Muhammad Iskandar Ismail, 32 — received two months and four weeks' jail for lying to the police and assaulting Nursadiqah.

Another brother, Muhammad Iski Ismail, 29, was jailed for eight months for lying to the police and asking Iskandar to lie as well.

Haslinda’s husband, Egyptian national Hany Aboubakr Abdelkarim Abdelfattah, was jailed for three weeks late last year.

Accused victim of performing sex acts

Nursadiqah became acquainted with the family after getting to know Hasniza’s youngest brother, Muhammad Isafi Ismail, in secondary school in 2008.

She grew close to the family, addressing Hasmah as “makcik” (auntie in Malay) and the two sisters as “kak” (older sister in Malay).

Hasniza knew she had mental problems and regarded her as “a girl who was easy to eat”, prosecutors said. She also discussed with Haslinda how to make Nursadiqah their slave, punishing her by slapping her on the face and hitting her.

In mid-2011, Nursadiqah ran away from her home for the first time due to family problems, and periodically stayed at Haslinda’s flat in Woodlands.

The victim ran away for good in 2016 and moved in with Haslinda’s family, getting a job with the McDonald’s outlet at Woodlands Mart.

Hany, who worked at a Giant supermarket nearby, began talking to the victim and they became friends.

While at a staircase landing at the Woodlands Mart car park, she performed sex acts on him sometime around May 2016.

A few days later, Haslinda accused her of the acts and confronted her in the flat’s kitchen. Court documents did not state how she learnt about what happened.

Haslinda forced Hany to slap her and from then on, the family began assaulting her with various weapons. They also splashed boiling water on her, while Hasniza struck her with a baseball bat.

Hasniza applied Dettol, cream or powder on her wounds and the two sisters applied medication on her toe when it became infected from being twisted.

Chained up 8 to 12 hours a night

In June 2016, Nursadiqah’s father went to her McDonald’s workplace and pleaded for her to come home. She secretly packed some of her clothes and tried to escape, but Haslinda later found her at work and demanded some outstanding laundry fees.

Haslinda was unrelenting in her demands, asking for Nursadiqah’s mobile phone and demanding that she return to their flat.

She no longer went back to McDonald’s to work and had to do their household chores without pay.

Soon, Haslinda alleged that Nursadiqah had stolen from her. On Hasmah’s request, Hasniza bought a metal chain used to secure bicycles to chain Nursaqidah up at night, tying her hands or legs to a baby swing in the living room.

Hasmah wanted this as she was concerned Nursaqidah would run away or steal food from the kitchen. The older woman held onto the padlock key, freeing Nursaqidah in the mornings.

They later chained her outside Hasniza’s room, with Hasmah looping the chain around her neck instead on a few occasions.

She was chained up for between eight and 12 hours every day. When she was released, she was expected to sweep and mop the house before having breakfast.

Hasniza threw the metal chain away before the police could seize it.

The family also took Nursadiqah to Malaysia on a few occasions to clean their flat in Johor Baru, making her wear a headscarf on one occasion to conceal injuries that Haslinda inflicted on her cheek there.

In late 2017, Nursadiqah could no longer control her bowels. While chained half-naked to a toilet bowl, she sat in her own faeces and urine and ate off the bathroom floor, with an unbearable stench emanating from her.

She was soon too weak to get up or eat anything. There was a very smelly discharge coming from her vaginal area and dark liquid flowed from her mouth and nose.

But the family continued abusing her till the morning of Jan 16, 2018, when her condition grew so dire that Hasniza called for an ambulance. She was rushed to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in a near-death state.

She required eight hours of resuscitation and was transferred to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in light of her severe burn injuries.

On admission, she was dangerously ill and was expected to die over the next two days. She had lost 10 teeth, suffered multiple deformities and her corneas were damaged.

She also had multiple burns over a third of her body. She was admitted to intensive care at SGH for about two weeks and discharged after more than three months.

Victim had limited coping skills

When Nursadiqah was first taken to the hospital, Hasniza told police officers that she had only turned up at their flat about two weeks ago with the injuries.

Everyone else agreed to lie about the abuse.

But on Jan 22, 2018, her brother Iski confessed to the police, leading to Hasmah and Haslinda’s arrests. Hasniza admitted to her offences five days later.

Nursadiqah was examined at the Institute of Mental Health, she was found to have mild intellectual disability. Most of her functioning was also in the extremely low range when she was given an intelligence quotient (IQ) assessment.

A psychologist found that her limited coping skills in dealing with her fears and helplessness, her poor expressive ability, and her lowered cognitive functioning made it difficult for her to protect herself or to seek help, trapping her in a cycle of abuse.

While she did not report being significantly affected in her daily functioning, the psychologist assessed that her history of traumatic experiences and emotional numbing would place her at high risk of being exploited and re-victimised in the future.

For voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, Hasniza could have been jailed up to seven years or fined. The offence attracts caning but women cannot be caned under the law.

For wrongful confinement, she could have been jailed up to three years or fined, or both.

For obstruction of justice, she could have been jailed up to seven years or fined, or both. — TODAY

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