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Over 325 Indonesian inmates win royal pardon

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih holds talks with his Indonesian counterpart in Riyadh. (SPA)

RIYADH : 28 Jun 2011

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has pardoned more than 325 Indonesian inmates, including housemaids, said an Indonesian official in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The decision to set free the workers followed talks between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Saudi Ambassador Abdulrahman M. Amen Al-Khayyat in Jakarta Tuesday.

“The list of names covered by royal clemency has been sent to us by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and covers mainly violators of local rules and those who committed petty crimes, as well as some detainees involved in illegal sex,” said Hendrar Pramutyo, an official of the citizen protection wing at the Indonesian Embassy.

He said President Yudhoyono thanked the Saudi government for this gesture of support.

Most of the pardoned detainees are currently serving jail terms in 13 different prisons across the Kingdom. Some of them were serving two to five years in jail, he said.

The official pointed out that the 325 workers were chosen toward the end of 2010 from 1,719 jailed workers including maids still serving sentences.

Asked about the agenda of the meeting between President Yudhoyono and Al-Khayyat, Pramutyo said: “The subject of the talks are not known to me, but I can confirm that they met at the presidential palace today.”

The meeting comes amid mounting protests following the execution of Indonesian maid Ruyati binti Satubi in Makkah.

Referring to increased efforts to protect workers in the Kingdom, Pramutyo said Jakarta had pledged to help and save all Indonesian migrant workers facing the death sentence in Saudi Arabia.

He said Darsem Binti Dawud will be released possibly by next week following the payment of SR2 million in blood money a couple of days ago to the family of her Yemeni employer, who she was convicted of killing in Riyadh.

According to a report published in a section of the Indonesian media, Jakarta had already established a special task force in Saudi Arabia to provide legal advice to Indonesians on death row in hopes of helping them win a reprieve.

The report said the Saudi government had pledged to review the cases of migrant workers on death row and release some of them. The report said the Saudi side has also agreed to help finance the repatriation of some workers to Indonesia.

With regard to thousands of Indonesians who overstayed their visas in Saudi Arabia, the report said the government had deployed another task force to help them obtain the documents required to leave the country.

On the other hand, Indonesia’s National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers has opened a crisis center in Jakarta to help the migrant workers and their families in distress.

 

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