UCA News


Saudi Arabia beheads Indonesian migrant worker

Riyadh authorities ignore several pleas from Joko Widodo to spare life of Muhammad Zaini Misrin

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Saudi Arabia beheads Indonesian migrant worker

Families and activists hold a rally outside the Presidential Palace in Jakarta in this 2016 file photo protesting against death sentences imposed on Indonesian migrant workers. (Photo supplied by Migrant CARE). 


Share this article :
Saudi Arabia has beheaded an Indonesian migrant worker despite several direct pleas from Indonesia's President Joko Widodo to show mercy.

Muhammad Zaini Misrin, 53, from Madura, East Java, was executed on March 18 after having been found guilty of murdering his employer in 2005, according to overseas workers advocacy group Migrant Care. He had traveled to the kingdom in 2003 to work as a driver

The group said Saudi authorities failed to inform Indonesia through a mandatory notification to its consulate in Jeddah of Misrin's execution.

Migrant Care also said Misrin received an unfair trial in which his interpreter conspired with authorities to elicit a confession.

"Misrin's trial and execution were a gross human rights violation," Migrant Care director Wahyu Susilo told ucanews.com on March 19.

"Misrin said he was forced to confess to the murder. He faced pressure and intimidation from Saudi Arabian authorities." 

The condemned filed a final appeal on March 6, which was rejected by Saudi authorities, he added.

According to Susilo, Widodo requested on three separate occasions for Misrin and other Indonesian death row inmates in the kingdom to receive clemency. One such occasion was during a visit to Saudi Arabia by Widodo in 2015.

The government needs to do more to help Indonesians condemned to death overseas, Susilo said.

As of 2015 about 270 Indonesian migrant workers were awaiting execution overseas, according to an official at the Manpower Ministry.

Azas Tigor Nainggolan, a Catholic lawyer and coordinator of the human rights desk of the Indonesian bishops' Commission for Justice, Peace and Pastoral for Migrant-Itinerant People, called on the Indonesian government to protest against the Saudis for not issuing formal notification about the execution.

"The Indonesian government must be more firm so that our migrant workers are protected," he said on March 19.

He called on Widodo to up efforts to save two female workers awaiting execution in Saudi Arabia — Tuti Tursilawati and Ety Thoyyib, both from Majalengka in West Java.

Misrin's son Toriq, 25, condemned the execution, saying his father was coerced into providing a confession for a crime he did not commit.

The only thing now is "I hope the Indonesian government brings my father's remains to be buried at home," he said.

At least 130 people were executed in Saudi Arabia last year, according to rights groups.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM


Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."