Saudi Arabia beheads Indonesian migrant worker

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

 

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.

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

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