Politics

Indonesian beheaded in Saudi Arabia

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Activists shows a placard displaying photos of abused Indonesian women migrant workers during a 2007 demonstration in front of Saudi Arabian embassy in Jakarta.

Credit:

ADEK BERRY

An Indonesian maid's beheading in Saudi Arabia has reasserted the kingdom's willingness to execute foreigners who violate its strict laws.

Ruyati binti Satubi has become a household name in Indonesia, which sends millions of women abroad to work as maids in wealthier countries.

The 54-year-old woman was one of them. She was beheaded on June 18 after a conviction for hacking to death her female boss in Saudi Arabia.

Rights groups say there's evidence she was driven to murder by abuse and that the woman had little or no legal counsel to ward off a death sentence. Her family was told of her beheading the next day, Al-Jazeera reports.

The beheading is the latest dark turn in the relationship between Saudi employers and the foreign maids they're fond of hiring.

Late last year, the Indonesian government was furious over the discovery of a maid's dead body, dumped on a Saudi roadside, and the torture of a second maid, whose lips were cut by scissors. Foreign maids in Saudi Arabia have long complained of mistreatment by their employers.

Indonesia has signaled its anger by recalling its Saudi-based ambassador. Still, the Jakarta Post editorializes that the execution highlights the Indonesian president's diplomatic impotence and failure to spare the country's many outgoing migrant workers from the death penalty.