Jakarta pays part of blood money to stop Saudis beheading maid for murder

Jakartacontributes to 'blood money' family will pay to stop Saudi beheading for murder

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 9:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 10:06pm


Indonesia has agreed to pay US$1.9 million to stop the impending execution of an Indonesian maid, who is on death row in Saudi Arabia for murder, a minister said.

Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad was sentenced to death in 2011 for murdering her employer's wife and stealing money. She was due to be beheaded in the coming days.

Her case attracted huge media attention in Indonesia and there was a campaign in the past few weeks to stop the execution. Under Islamic sharia law followed in Saudi Arabia, the family of a victim can settle for "blood money" instead of an execution.

The family had demanded seven million riyal (US$1.9 million), but contributions from businesses and a group representing companies that send migrant workers abroad raised only four million riyal.

Indonesian Security Minister Djoko Suyanto said in Jakarta that the government had agreed to provide the remaining three million. "We have agreed to fulfil the family's demands," he said. "This will help to save Satinah from the death penalty."

The victim's family had initially asked for 15 million riyals but agreed to lower it, he said.

The Indonesian government has fought a long battle to save the maid and had already managed to get the execution delayed five times since her conviction.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest destination for Indonesian maids, with about one million working in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

If Ahmad had been beheaded, it could have set back attempts by Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to improve ties damaged by the 2011 beheading of an Indonesian maid, who was also found guilty of murder.

That execution infuriated Indonesia, particularly as Saudi officials failed to inform Jakarta beforehand, and authorities placed a moratorium on sending new maids to Saudi Arabia, which remains in place.