Saudi Arabia executes Indonesian migrant worker eliciting protest by Indonesia
Sentenced to death in 1999 for killing her employer, Siti Zainab binti Duhri Rupa died yesterday. Indonesian authorities slam Saudi Arabia for failing to inform them of the imminent execution. The consulate in Jeddah was only informed after the fact.

Jeddah (AsiaNews) – Siti Zainab binti Duhri Rupa was executed yesterday in Saudi Arabia. Indonesian authorities expressed “deep sorrow” for her death and issued a statement protesting against Saudi Arabia’s failure to notify them before carrying out the death sentence.

Speaking on behalf of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi expressed "disappointment" for how the execution was carried out, adding that the Indonesian government would “continue to defend its citizens" on death row "in Saudi Arabia and in other nations in the world."

Siti Zainab, a migrant worker from Bangkalan (Madura Island, East Java province), was executed yesterday morning at 10 am local time, in prison in Madinah.

Saudi authorities executed the domestic worker – who was convicted in the killing her employer Nourah binti Abdullah Duhem to Maruba – without informing their Indonesian counterpart, a decision that led the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry to protest. 

The initial conviction was issued in 2001 and became final in 2013 when the victim’s son, Walid bin Abdullah bin Muhsin al Ahmadi, refused a request for forgiveness and turned down the payment of blood money as compensation.

Although Indonesian authorities made every effort to save her life, it was to be in vain. Yesterday's execution was the second of an Indonesian national in the Saudi kingdom.

Siti Zainab’s case resembles that of another Indonesian migrant worker, Ruyati binti Saboti Saruna, who was executed in June 2011 for complicity in murder.

Her death caused a major storm at home because of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s lukewarm reaction and the manner in which she was executed. In this case too, Saudi authorities failed to inform the Indonesian embassy and the Indonesian government.

In the case of 40-year-old Satinah binti Djumadi, things went differently. On death row in Saudi Arabia on charges of murdering her employer in 2007 (in reaction to mistreatment) and stealing about 10,000 dollars, she was saved thanks to the timely intervention by then President Yudhoyono and the payment of blood money.

At least 1.2 million Indonesians live in Saudi Arabia, 70 per cent of whom employed as waiters or domestic help.

International anti-death penalty groups note that in 2011 alone, at least 27 people were beheaded for crimes of various kinds. This is far fewer than the 67 of 2008.

The country enforces a strict interpretation of Sharia law, imposing the death sentence on several crimes like rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking. (MH)