Migrant Care activists hold a rally in protest against the execution of an Indonesian migrant worker in front of the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Jakarta. Photo credit: Seto Wardhana/Jakarta Post

Outrage as Saudis Secretly Execute Indonesian Worker

Domestic SlaveryLaw & Policy

Indonesian migrant domestic worker Tuti Tursilawati was executed by beheading by Saudi Arabia on Monday, sparking outrage across Indonesia.

Shockingly, Saudi Arabia did not notify Tursilawati’s family or Indonesian officials about the execution.

Related Campaign: Help end domestic worker slavery.

Tursilawati had been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for allegedly beating her employer to death with a stick in self-defense against attempted rape.

She managed to run away, but was then raped instead by nine Saudi men before the police brought her into custody.

Her execution and the ensuring diplomatic row is now sparking calls for Jakarta to scrap a workers’ deal it has with Riyadh.

Asia Pacific Report explains:

Migrant CARE executive director Wahyu Susilo strongly condemned the execution of Tuti by Saudi authorities and urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to take significant diplomatic measures in protest against Riyadh, such as scrapping a pilot project to send a limited number of migrant workers to Saudi Arabia.

“President Jokowi must cancel the agreement between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia on the One Channel System [because the execution is] proof that Saudi Arabia does not fulfill the terms and conditions pertaining to the protection of the rights of migrant domestic workers,” Wahyu said in a statement.

The assured protection of migrant workers’ rights was an explicit requirement in documents signed by Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri and his Saudi counterpart Ahmed Sulaiman Al Rajhi on October 11, the rights activist said.

The One Channel System was a scheme agreed upon by the labour ministers that would allow Indonesia to send a certain number of workers to the Middle Eastern kingdom, bypassing a 2015 moratorium.

This is not the first time an Indonesian migrant worker has been executed by the Saudis, nor is it the first time the Saudis have failed to notify the worker’s family and Indonesian officials prior to the execution.

The problem has become so severe that during a recent joint commission meeting between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi requested the Saudis to provide consular notifications in accordance with the 1963 Vienna Convention on consular relations.

Wahyu added that President Jokowi has previously asked Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir for assurances that Indonesian migrant workers rights would be protected.

“When [President Jokowi] met with the Saudi foreign minister, the President asked Saudi Arabia to provide protection for Indonesian migrant workers and work to resolve the [murder of journalist Jamal] Khashoggi in earnest.”

“It turns out the request was simply ignored.”

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Kate DowneySarah CollinsBarbara DenhamwilliamlJoyce Pattillo Recent comment authors
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Kate Downey
Kate Downey

The Saudi Gov and king are sexist pigs, they despise women and they they lie. The king and his Gov are guilty of murdering people who speak out and oppose their barbaric rules of control, lack of freedom of speech and lack of education to the Saudi people. I hope the world ceases to have anything to do with this country. There is no justice in Saudi except greed abuse and corruption.

Sarah Collins
Sarah Collins

Saudi Arabia has no respect for women’s rights. Domestic workers in that country are modern slaves, and this incident is a horrible example of Saudi treatment of women who work there. The world needs to speak out now about Saudi Arabia’s dreadful record on human rights and particularly about the way they treat women!

Barbara Denham
Barbara Denham

It’s bad enough that this poor woman was gang-raped. But to behead her as well!! Her blood is on their hands. Savages.


That is a shame. There was no cause for an act as that.

Joyce Pattillo
Joyce Pattillo

There are more than just the Saudi’s at fault, the age for workers to enter Saudi is 26yr. On more than one occasion when I was working in Riyadh I met and knew of much younger women who were raped by the family males, and some as young as 17yrs.
The agency’s in the country of origin are to blame, as well as the attitude of the uneducated Saudi’s
Yes, I lived in Saudi for over 10 years,. It’s slavery in a way, twisted and manipulated by greedy agencies and laws ignored.