Saudi Arabia executes Indonesian migrant worker

Jakarta expresses anger over Riyadh's failure to notify Indonesian diplomats about Tuti Tursilawati's beheading
Saudi Arabia executes Indonesian migrant worker

An activist holds a banner reading "Saudi Arabia, is a criminal of humanity" during a protest against the execution of an Indonesian migrant worker outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Jakarta in this file photo. Indonesia condemned the execution of migrant worker Tuti Tursilawati on Oct. 29 after the Saudi government failed to notify Jakarta her execution was about to take place. (Photo by Adek Berry/AFP)

Saudi Arabia has beheaded an Indonesian maid, eight years after she was sentenced to death for killing her employer.

Tuti Tursilawati, 34, from Cikeusik in West Java's Majalengka district, was beheaded on Oct. 29 in the Saudi city of Thaif.

She was sentenced to death in 2011 after killing her Saudi employer, Suud Malhaq Al Utibi, on May 11, 2010.

She claimed she acted in self-defense and that her employer was sexually and physically abusing her.

Tursilawati's execution drew condemnation from the Indonesian government, which claimed Saudi authorities gave no notification the execution was to take place. 

Jakarta said it was the fourth time Riyadh had not given notice of an execution of an Indonesian citizen in the last three years.

Muhammad Zaini Misrin, a driver, was beheaded in March, and two maids, Siti Zaenab and Karni, were executed in April 2015.

"We only heard about Tursilawati's execution on Oct 29. So I immediately contacted the Saudi foreign minister protesting the execution," Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, director of citizen protection at Indonesia's Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Oct. 30.

The execution also came just a week after Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, met his Indonesian counterpart and President Joko Widodo in Jakarta to discuss migrant workers' rights.

During the talks, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, raised the need for Saudi authorities to provide notification about upcoming executions.

Wahyu Susilo, executive director of advocacy group Migrant CARE, said Saudi Arabia's failure to give notification showed it has blatantly ignored what was requested in the talks.

The Catholic layman then urged Widodo to take "serious diplomatic steps to prevent a repeat of the circumstances surrounding the execution."  

Tursilawati's mother, Iti Sarniti, said her daughter did not intend to kill her employer.

"My daughter had no protection, she was only defending herself from the violence she was forced to face," she said.

Advocacy groups say there are currently 18 Indonesians on death row in Saudi Arabia.

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