Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Indonesia protests Saudi execution of domestic worker

Tuti Tursilawati Image via Tribun News
Patty Aguilar | 03 November, 2018, 13:25

Indonesian President President Joko Widodo called Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, demanding to know why Jakarta had not been informed about Monday's execution of mother-of one Tuti Tursilawati.

The execution also comes at a particularly sensitive moment for the kingdom which is under enormous global pressure following the murder of the prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Indonesia, which has a high population of workers based in the Gulf state, had repeatedly asked the Saudi government to improve protection of its citizens there.

Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's director for overseas citizen protection, said Ms. Tuti had spoken to her mother on a video call less than two weeks ago, saying she was healthy and not anxious about being executed, according to The Post.In addition to facing physical abuse, migrant workers often struggle to adjust to the cultural differences in Saudi Arabia, whose strict interpretation of Islamic law forces foreigners to abandon many of their customs.

Tuti Tursilawati was sentenced to death in 2011 for murdering her employer.

Indonesia introduced the ban following the execution of two other Indonesian maids by Saudi Arabia the same year.

The office of the cabinet secretary cited the Migrant Care assertion.

But despite agreements about notifying government's ahead of carrying out death penalties, Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said she had been executed without any notification.

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Many Indonesians have sought work in Saudi Arabia anyway.The two countries agreed last month to ease those restrictions, allowing a limited number of Indonesian workers to go to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Embassy in Jakarta was unable to provide immediate comment.

In 2014, Human Rights Watch criticised Indonesia's agreements with Saudi Arabia and said it lacked clear enforcement mechanisms for workers, who are typically isolated in private homes, unaware of their rights and unable to speak Arabic.

The Saudi execution also occurred just a week after a meeting in Jakarta to discuss migrant workers' rights between Mr al-Jubeir, his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, and President Widodo.

Indonesian advocacy group Migrant Care said in September that the mum-of-one had been defending herself from being raped.

Separately in Jakarta, the ministry's director for overseas citizen protection, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, said Tuti's family had accepted her passing, after it was revealed that he had personally delivered the news of her execution in a visit to her hometown in Majalengka, West Java.

The Tursilawati case comes as the Indonesian government has demanded a thorough probe into the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was allegedly murdered by Saudis on October 2.

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