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Jakarta Post

Execution of Indonesian worker 'won’t affect' RI-S. Arabia relations

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 21, 2018   /   11:23 am
Execution of Indonesian worker 'won’t affect' RI-S. Arabia relations Migrant Care activists hold a rally in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Jakarta on March 20. The rally was held to condemn Saudi Arabia's execution of Indonesian migrant worker M. Zaini Misrin from Bangkalan, for murder despite President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s repeated pleas for the man to be granted clemency. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)

The State Palace says the recent beheading of an Indonesian migrant worker and murder convict by Saudi Arabian authorities will not alter established diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Jakarta was recently “shocked” by the news that Riyadh had executed M. Zaini Misrin, an Indonesian driver convicted of murdering his Saudi Arabian employer, last Sunday in Mecca without any prior notification sent to Indonesian officials in the country.

Presidential spokesperson Johan Budi said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had assigned the Foreign Ministry through the Indonesian ambassador to Saudi Arabia to straighten things out with the Islamic kingdom.

When asked about how the incident would affect diplomatic ties between the two countries, Johan maintained that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia had close relations, as shown by King Salman during his official visit to Indonesia in March last year.

“I think that the suggestion that [the recent execution] would affect relations goes too far,” Johan said on Tuesday.

Johan acknowledged that the beheading of Zaini was not carried out accordingly, given that under usual circumstances, Riyadh would give prior notification before the execution took place.  

Zaini, a 53-year-old man from Bangkalan, East Java, was sentenced to death on Nov. 17, 2008, after being found guilty of murdering his employer, Abdullah bin Umar Muhammad Al Sindy. He was arrested on Jul. 13, 2004.

The death sentence, which was immediately met by criticism from human rights and migrant worker protection activists, took place despite Zaini having requested a Saudi Arabian appeals court to undertake a case review.

President Jokowi has requested that Zaini and other Indonesians on death row in Saudi Arabia be granted clemency on at least three occasions: During his visit to Riyadh in September 2015, during King Salman’s visit to Jakarta in March 2017 and through a letter sent to the kingdom in November last year.

Indonesia also imposes the death penalty for major crimes such as murder and drug trafficking. Under Jokowi's leadership, Indonesia has executed more than a dozen people despite pleas for a moratorium from a number of world leaders. (ahw)