Jakarta saves 12 citizens from Saudi death penalty

JAKARTA • Indonesia said it has secured the release of 12 citizens from death row in Saudi Arabia this year.

The number of Indonesians freed from death row in Saudi Arabia since 2011 is 68, the Foreign Ministry's directorate of legal aid and protection said yesterday.

Ministry records show there are 24 Indonesian citizens at risk of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. Of those, 12 face murder charges, nine are on adultery charges and three face black magic charges.

The ministry said that recently, the government managed to secure the release of Rika Mustikawati, a migrant worker.

In May 2012, a general court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Rika to death for allegedly performing witchcraft on her female employer.

In November 2012, a Saudi appeals court annulled the verdict and requested the general court to try Rika's case again with a new panel of judges. The ministry said this was made possible with the legal assistance provided by the Indonesian Consulate-General in Jeddah.

After a string of hearings, the court released Rika from death row, imposing on her only three years in prison.

The ministry said it has also sought clemency from the Saudi king for other Indonesian nationals sentenced to death.

"Indonesian representatives abroad have continued to make use of the good momentum created by recent meetings between Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and Saudi Arabia's king and foreign minister to accelerate the settlement of legal problems affecting Indonesian citizens in Saudi Arabia," said the ministry.

THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'Jakarta saves 12 citizens from Saudi death penalty'. Print Edition | Subscribe