Saudi Prince Pledges Help for Death Row Migrant Worker
By Rizwan Khatik - Mon Dec 26, 4:20 pm
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has given his promise to former President B.J. Habibie that he will assist in efforts to save an Indonesian migrant worker on death row for allegedly killing her employer.
The pledge was made during a meeting in Riyadh on Sunday, the head of the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI), Jumhur Hidayat, said on Monday.
Habibie flew to the Saudi Arabian capital to lobby for a stay of Tuti Tursilawati’s execution.
“The mission of former President B.J. Habibie to help save Tuti obtained a positive response from Prince Alwaleed,” Jumhur said.
Alwaleed, an influential businessman and a nephew of King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud, is believed to have significant influence on the royal family.
Jumhur said he was told of the prince’s response by the spokesman for the government-formed task force on Indonesian migrant workers sentenced to death overseas, Humphrey Djemat, who accompanied Habibie in the meeting with Alwaleed.
“Although it was said that basically it is rare for a death [row] convict to obtain a pardon, Prince Alwaleed was prepared to work to get a pardon and he would start by checking on the details of the case,” Jumhur said.
Tuti, a migrant worker from Majalengka, West Java, was sentenced to death for the murder last year of her employer, Suud Malhaq Al Utaibi, whom she claims sexually abused her.
After killing the man, Tuti fled with 31,500 riyal ($8,400) and his wristwatch.
She is currently being held at a jail in the Saudia Arabian city of Thaif.
Jumhur said the prince’s commitment would be followed up on by his office.
He said Habibie’s involvement in the case stemmed from his international influence as a Muslim scholar and the former president’s feelings of moral obligation to help save Tuti.
Jumhur said the victim’s family had filed a petition with a Saudi Arabian court asking that Tuti’s execution be carried out. Despite attempts at mediation by Saudi authorities, the family so far has refused to drop its death penalty demand in exchange for money.
Jumhur said that Habibie also asked Alwaleed to talk with the family.
Forty-four Indonesian migrant workers are on death row in Saudi Arabia, according to Migrant Care, a nongovernmental organization dealing with migrant workers’ issues.
On Oct. 6, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sent a letter to the Saudi king asking for his help in seeking forgiveness for Tuti from the victim’s family.
Tuti is a single parent with a 6-year-old son.