Indonesia summoned on Wednesday the Saudi ambassador in the country’s capital of Jakarta to discuss a recent execution of an Indonesian maid who was convicted by the Saudi authorities of killing her employer.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia executed Tuti Tursilawati, an Indonesian female migrant worker, seven years after she was sentenced to death in June 2011 for killing her employer in an act she claimed was “self-defence from sexual abuse.”
The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, said that he had called the Saudi foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, to protest and demand to know why Indonesia had not been informed about the execution of Tursilawati.
“We have called Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister and conveyed our protest,” Widodo was quoted as saying by the office of his cabinet secretary.
The Saudi embassy has not responded to Jakarta calls.
Tursilawati was executed just a week after a recent meeting between Al-Jubeir, his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, and Widodo in Jakarta, where they discussed migrant workers’ rights and signed an agreement to jointly “supervise, monitor and evaluate” the workers.
Abidin Fikri, a member of Indonesia’s parliament told Reuters on Wednesday that the kingdom – main destination for Indonesian maids – “has ignored principles of human rights, including a right for everyone to live.”
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.
The execution also comes at a particularly sensitive moment for the kingdom which is under immense global pressure following the murder of the prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.