Saudi Arabia in Indonesian maid beheading row

Protest outside the Saudi embassy in Jakarta. the t-shirts read: corrupt government, workers are beheaded
Image caption Protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy in Jakarta

Indonesian MPs have called for a ban on workers being sent to the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia executed a maid without informing Jakarta.

Indonesia has recalled its ambassador to Riyadh to express its anger.

A crowd of protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy in Jakarta displaying banners and T-shirts in support of the executed worker.

The maid, Ruyati binti Sapubi, was beheaded with a sword on Saturday after confessing to murdering her boss.

Indonesian media reports said she attacked her boss with a meat cleaver after being denied permission to return home.

About 1.5 million Indonesians work in Saudi Arabia - many of them as domestic maids.

Anger has been growing in recent years over the treatment of migrant workers - particularly maids, who often complain of mistreatment.

'Obligations ignored'

Parliamentary speaker Priyo Budi Santoso said MPs had told the government they must stop sending workers to the Middle East.

"We have asked the government to temporarily suspend sending Indonesian workers overseas, especially countries which refuse to sign an agreement which protects our workers' rights," he said.

Some MPs also called for the resignation of senior government figures including Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.

Mr Marty addressed parliament on Monday, telling them that Saudi Arabia had a history of executing people without giving proper notification.

"It is regrettable that Saudi Arabia has repeatedly ignored its international obligation to inform related countries about consular affairs their nationals are facing," he said.

Indonesia's ambassador to Riyadh was recalled on Monday for consultations, and officials said they had lodged a strong protest with the Saudi authorities.

Meanwhile, a group of about 50 people gathered outside to the Saudi embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday.

They wore T-shirts emblazoned with "corrupt government, workers are beheaded" and carried banners proclaiming: "Our hearts for Ruyati."

Indonesia only recently resumed sending workers to Malaysia, after a row over the abuse of maids led to a two-year suspension in the practice.

A row erupted also in April when a Saudi woman, convicted of beating and torturing an Indonesian maid, had her conviction quashed on appeal.

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