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Saudi executes Indonesia maid who killed ‘abusive’ employer in self-defence

Published: November 1, 2018
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Saudi Arabia has come under fire once again after it executed an Indonesian female migrant worker without notifying her family or the Indonesian government.

Seven years after being sentenced to death for killing her employer in an act she claimed was self-defence from sexual abuse, Tuti Tursilawati was executed on Monday in the city of Taif.

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo criticised the decision today, saying the government has officially protested to Riyadh and demanded better protection for Indonesian workers in the country.

Tursilawati was executed just a week after Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, met with his Indonesian counterpart and President Widodo in Jakarta to discuss migrant workers’ rights.

Tursilawati’s execution is believed to be the fourth time Saudi Arabia failed to give notice before carrying out a death penalty on an Indonesian migrant worker in the past three years. However, this execution comes at a particularly sensitive moment for the kingdom which is under immense global pressure to explain the killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The case of Tursilawati dates back to 2010 when she was charged with killing her employer. She claimed she was acting in self-defence because she was being sexually abused.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stressed the need to set up a mandatory consular notification before carrying out death penalties.

Saudi Arabia is the main destination for Indonesian maids and earlier this month the two countries signed a new agreement to jointly “supervise, monitor and evaluate” the workers.

After Tursilawati’s execution, the executive director at Indonesia’s Migrant Care advocacy group, an NGO advocating for the rights of Indonesian workers abroad, condemned the execution and urged the government to take serious diplomatic steps including cancelling the agreement.

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