Friday, 4 April 2014

Indonesian maid avoids being beheaded in Saudi Arabia after her government paid £1.1million in 'blood money'

Freed by the Indonesian government: Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad's sister in law holds up her picture of the Indonesian maid who was found guilty of murder in Saudi Arabia

The Indonesian government has agreed to pay £1.1million ($2.1m AU) to stop the execution of an Indonesian house maid in Saudi Arabia.
Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad, 41, has been on death row since 2011 when she was found guilty of killing her employer's wife and stealing 37,970 riyal (£5640, $10,125 AU) in 2007. She has always claimed that she acted in self defence.

The family of the murdered woman agreed to settle for seven million riyal in 'blood money' instead of the execution of Ms Ahmad, an acceptable exchange under Islamic sharia law.

The Indonesian government managed to negotiate the payment down from the 10 million riyal which had been originally requested by the The al-Garib family in 2011.
'We have agreed to give the victim’s family what they demanded,' Indonesian coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs Djoko Suyanto said, according to the Jakarta Globe.
'[A] letter from the president has been sent to Saudi Arabian king, and the Saudis have responded by telling us that the Kingdom’s staffs will work on a pardon,' he said.

It is not uncommon for migrant workers in Saudi Arabia to be sentenced to death, often protesting that the abuse they received at the hands of their Saudi employers triggered their crimes.
Many celebrities, social media users and activists have jumped aboard Ms Ahmad's case since her conviction, due to the huge media attention her plight has received.
An earlier attempt to raise the 'blood money' through donations failed to raise the requested amount by the April 3, 2014 deadline, making it to only four million riyal.
However, Ms Ahmad's case is not unique.

In 2011 the beheading of Ruyati Binti Sapub, another maid found guilty of murder, infuriated the Indonesian government who claimed they were not kept properly informed on the dates and facts surroudning the execution.
The event triggered the Indonesian government to put a moratorium on domestic workers traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2011.

This led to series of labour negotiations between the two countries in 2013 over foreign workers basic human rights including pay and working hours.
The most recent agreement signed by the two countries in February of this year, allows Indonesian domestic workers to keep their passports, communicate with families, have time off and get paid monthly, according to the Human Rights Watch.

Earlier in the week, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that 246 Indonesian migrant workers are currently facing death, according to the Jakarta Globe.
'We have freed 176 people from death sentences,' Mr Yudhoyono said to Indonesian journalists,
'That is not a small number considering how hard it is to ask forgiveness for even one person.'

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