Just three weeks ago, Darsem binti Dawud Tawar was facing execution by beheading in Saudi Arabia for murder, which she claims was an act of self-defense. Now, finally back home in Indonesia, she is a free woman — after the Indonesian government paid more than $500,000 in “blood money.”
Holding her young son tightly, as she faced the glare of the media, Darsem was reunited with her family on Wednesday at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry in Jakarta. She first left her West Java hometown for a job as a maid in the Middle East in 2006, when her son was just a baby.
Darsem’s pardon followed the recent beheading of another Indonesian maid convicted of murdering her employer in Saudi Arabia.
In May 2009, a Riyadh court sentenced Darsem to death for murdering a relative of her Yemeni employer in Saudi Arabia. She claimed she acted in self-defense, after he allegedly tried to rape her.
This happens after Indonesia banned maids from travelling to Saudi Arabia, because of the beheading of another Indonesia maid, accused of murdering her employer in similar circumstances:
Indonesians reacted strongly when it was reported that Ruyati, 54, a migrant worker from West Java, was beheaded in Saudi Arabia last month. The woman was found guilty of killing her employer, who Ruyati claimed had abused her.
Aside from condemning the action taken by the Saudi government, Indonesia has banned the sending of maids to Saudi until a new agreement is signed that would protect the rights of migrants and maid workers.
- Saudi Arabia urged to halt beheadings after spike in executions: Amnesty International. (huffingtonpost.com)
- Ruyati is Beheaded by Arabian (morningtology.wordpress.com)