Indonesia's domestic worker beheaded in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded an Indonesian domestic worker who knifed to death a Saudi woman described in press reports as her employer.

The interior ministry said Siti Zainab was executed after being convicted of stabbing and beating Saudi woman Noura al-Morobei to death.

The sentence was carried out on Tuesday in the Muslim holy city of Medina, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Zainab's execution brings to 60 the number of foreigners and Saudis executed this year, according to an AFP tally.

Jakarta's embassy in Riyadh declined to comment on her case.

According to Indonesian newspaper Kompas, Zainab was convicted of killing her employer in 1999, despite concerns about her mental health.

Her execution was delayed until the victim's children were old enough to decide whether the punishment should go ahead, the Saudi interior ministry said.

Indonesia four years ago announced a moratorium on sending migrant workers to the kingdom, but the Saudi newspaper Arab News reported in January that negotiations between the two countries over the recruitment of domestics had resumed.

Rights groups regularly denounce abuse and even torture of impoverished women from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Nepal who work as maids in Gulf countries.

Saudi Arabia in 2013 passed new rules that grant domestic workers one day's rest a week and guarantee the payment of their salaries.

Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law.

Saudi Arabia has seen a surge in executions this year, compared with the 87 death sentences carried out in 2014.