Indonesia bans workers from Saudi after maid's execution


Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced the beginning of a moratorium on sending Indonesian workers to Saudi Arabia, after an Indonesian woman was beheaded for killing her Saudi boss. The woman was denied permission to return to Indonesia and murdered her employer. President Yudhoyono said he will maintain the moratorium until more rights are given to Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia.


Ulet Ifansasti

Indonesia has banned its citizens from working in Saudi Arabia after an Indonesian maid was beheaded for murdering her Saudi employer with a meat cleaver.

Ruyati binti Sapubi, 54, was convicted of murdering her Saudi employer, Khairiya bint Hamid Mijlid, after she was denied permission to leave the kingdom and return to her family in Indonesia, the Telegraph reports, citing officials in Jakarta.

The beheading has renewed complaints against Indonesia's government over the lack of protection for its citizens working overseas.

The ban mainly affects domestic workers, who make up about 70 per cent of the 1.2 million Indonesian migrant workers in the Gulf state, Reuters reports.

"I decided to apply a moratorium on sending Indonesian workers to Saudi Arabia, to be in effect on August 1, but starting from today, steps toward this have begun," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Thursday on a live TV broadcast.

The moratorium will apply "until Indonesia and Saudi Arabia can come to an agreement to give rights necessary for Indonesian workers," he added.

Indonesia, which has itself come under fire for its use of the death sentence — carried out by firing squad — formally protested to Riyadh over the execution and recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Twenty-three other Indonesians currently face execution in Saudi Arabia, where people convicted of murder are beheaded in public.

Saudi Arabia apologized for failing to inform Jakarta of the beheading, the Telegraph reports.

Yudhoyono promised reform of the system for sending workers abroad, although Reuters reports that they considered a valuable source of foreign exchange reserves and help reduce unemployment in Southeast Asia's top economy.

Indonesian rights activists, meanwhile, called for the scrapping of the death penalty in that country.