Siti Zaenab still under threat of S Arabia death penalty

Siti Zaenab still under threat of S Arabia death penalty

Marty Natalegawa. (ANTARA)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The legal process against Siti Zaenab binti Duhri, an Indonesian house maid sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia in 1999, is not yet over although her execution was prevented by the intervention of two previous Indonesian governments, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

Marty told the press at the presidential office here on Thursday Siti Zaenab was still facing the possibility of being put to death because she had yet to get clemency from the Saudi Arabian government.

The minister made the statement to respond to claims by a number of figures that Siti Zaenab had escaped execution after two previous Indonesian presidents had approached the Saudi government.

"Without belittling the contribution from and the various efforts made by the two previous governments, I must say the legal process against Siti Zaenab is not yet over," Marty said.

He said the claims from various parties that Siti Zaenab had been saved from the death penalty as a result of political and diplomatic approaches by two Indonesian presidents was not true.

Since September 1999, the Indonesian domestic helper Siti Zaenab binti Duhri had been imprisoned in Madinah Prison in Saudi Arabia.

She was accused of killing her female employer by stabbing her 18 times and therefore faced the death penalty by beheading.

Siti, who was from Bangkalan, Madura, East Java, left for Saudi Arabia on March 7, 1998 after being recruited by Panca Banyu Ajisakti, the same Jakarta-based recruitment agency that recruited Warni, an Indonesian migrant worker who was executed in Saudi Arabia for killing her employer`s mother.

Among its demand, the Center for Indonesian Migran Workers (CIMW) called on the Indonesian government and the recruitment agency to protect Siti`s rights as an Indonesian citizen working abroad and to provide an independent lawyer for her.

The migrant organization also called on the government and recruitment agency to facilitate a meeting between Siti and her family.

Lastly, CIMW called on the government to establish an independent commission to investigate whether the cases of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia received fair trials and whether their human rights were respected.