x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Saudi Arabia sentences Indonesian maid to death for decapitating child

Maid also given eight-month jail term and 200 lashes for attempting suicide after decapitating four-year-old girl.

RIYADH // A Saudi court on Sunday sentenced an Indonesian housemaid to death after she was convicted of murdering her employers’ four-year-old child.

The maid was “charged with decapitating the girl with a cleaver when her parents were away at work and her sisters were at school”, the Saudi Gazette reported yesterday, adding that the woman’s lawyer would file an appeal.

The report named the murdered girl as Tala Al Shehri, who had been killed in Yanbu “last September”.

The woman was also given an eight-month jail term and 200 lashes for attempted suicide after committing the crime.

The victim’s parents have refused to forgive the maid in return for blood money.

The maid’s lawyer, appointed by the Indonesian mission in Riyadh, said that the consulate would initiate legal action in Jakarta against a man who the newspaper said had convinced the woman, via text messages, to commit the crime.

Al Watan daily reported that the girl’s mother, a teacher, found the house locked upon arrival home on the day of the crime. The maid refused to open the door, threatening to kill the already-dead girl.

Alerted, the husband rushed to the home and in his panic, had a car accident in which he killed a motorist and injured his six-year-old daughter ,who later also died of her injuries, Al Watan reported.

Last year, media reported that 25 Indonesian maids were on death row in Saudi Arabia, while 22 others had been pardoned and sent home.

In June, 2011, and Indonesian maid, Ruyati binti Sapubi, 54, was beheaded after she was convicted of killing her Saudi employer, prompting Indonesia to recall its ambassador in Saudi Arabia for “consultations”.

Indonesian anger at the treatment of its manual labourers in the country has grown after a spate of cases of abuse and killings.

Indonesia had also announced a moratorium on sending migrant workers to Saudi Arabia, where hundreds of thousands of Indonesians toil as maids and labourers.

Rights groups say millions of mostly Asian domestic workers are regularly exposed to physical and financial abuse in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf states because of poor or non-existent labour laws.