04/04/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA - SAUDI ARABIA
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Jakarta pays "blood money" to save domestic worker sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia

The Indonesian government will pay part of the 7 million riyals (1.9 million US dollars) demanded to avoid death sentence. The 40-year old Satinah Binti Djumadi had killed her employer, following abuse. The execution of the sentence had already been postponed five times in the past.

Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Jakarta will pay  of 7 million riyals (1.9 million US dollars) blood money, to stop the execution of an Indonesian domestic worker in Saudi Arabia. 40 year-old Satinah Binti Djumadi was convicted in 2011 for theft and murder; the woman (pictured) was put on death row on charges of murdering her employer in 2007 - in response to mistreatment - and stealing the sum of 40 thousand riyals (about 10 thousand US dollars), to escape. She was due to have been beheaded yesterday. However, her story had attracted the attention of Indonesian citizens and civil society; with many launching awareness campaigns aimed at raising the money needed to to save her life .

In Saudi Arabia , a country which is subject to Islamic law, the family of a murder victim may settle the dispute by demanding "Blood Money" from the defendant, who thus avoids execution. A pardon from the Saudi king is also required, which the Indonesian government had already obtained in recent days thanks to intense diplomatic work .

Indonesian Minister of Security Djoko Suyanto yesterday confirmed that the government has decided to allocate the last three million riyals needed to save the woman's life. "We have accepted the family's request", added the minister, "and this will serve Satinah from the death sentence".

Satinah's story closely resembles the drama of Indonesian migrant worker di Ruyati binti Saboti Saruna, executed in Saudi Arabia in June 2011 for complicity in murder. Her death sparked fierce controversy at home over the inertia of President Susilo Yudhoyono Bambabg and the manner in which the execution took place. Riyadh failed to inform the Indonesian Embassy and the government of Jakarta. In the case of Satinah Binti Djumadi , however, the head of state immediately stepped in to stay the execution, fighting a long legal battle and obtaining the postponement of the execution five times.

There are at least 1.2 million Indonesians in Saudia Arabia, 70% of whom are employed as waiters or domestic workers. The international movement against the death penalty reports that in 2011 alone at least 27 people were beheaded in Saudi Arabia for crimes of various kinds.  That number, however, is down from 2008 when 67 people were killed.

 

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