Ruyati binti Sapubi, 54, an Indonesian maid working in Saudi Arabia, was beheaded last Saturday, June 18, after confessing to killing her employer, saying he had abused her.
Saudi Arabia has not yet released any official comment on the incident. But according to the BBC,, Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Michael Tene told journalists on Wednesday: “The ambassador apologised and regretted the situation and said that such a thing wouldn’t happen again.”
The Ambassador Apologized For The Beheading?
“Such a thing?” A beheading? An execution without prior notice? Or the appalling abandonment of any pretense at justice?
The execution has understandably caused an outcry in Indonesia, which only recently resumed sending workers to Malaysia, after a row over the abuse of maids there led to a two-year suspension in the practice.
Moratorium On Indonesians Working As Domestic Servants In Saudi Arabia
Now Indonesia will stop allowing its citizens to work as domestic servants in Saudi Arabia. A moratorium will begin on August 1 and last until the two countries can agree on a policy of fair treatment for migrant workers. About 1.5 million Indonesians work in Saudi Arabia – many of them as domestic maids.
From the BBC:
Indonesian labour ministry spokeswoman Dita Indah Sari said the department would work closely with other government agencies on tightening all regulations concerning overseas domestic work.
Extra measures would be put in place to ensure no-one travelled to Saudi Arabia to take up domestic employment during the moratorium period, with more officials posted at borders and airports.
“We do not want to see any illegal recruitments during this period,” she said. “We will set up a special task force whose job is to make sure there are no Indonesian workers heading for Saudi when the moratorium is in place.”
This Is Not The First Time
Last April, Indonesia condemned the overturning of a Saudi woman’s conviction and three-year prison sentence for beating and torturing her Indonesian maid.
A number of other cases of abuse of migrant domestic workers have come to light in Saudi Arabia over recent years.
And in case you think it’s only Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia who are exploited, check out this Care2 story about the 70,000 foreign workers hired by the Pentagon, and how they are treated.
Photo Credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. via Creative Commons