[Stop-traffic] News/Indonesia: Govt urged to help migrant workers (Indonesia)

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Indonesia: Govt urged to help migrant workers (Indonesia)
From: Jeffrey D. Ballinger (jeffreyd@mindspring.com)
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 21:32:44 EDT


Jakarta Post
June 29, 2000

Govt urged to help migrant workers

JAKARTA (JP): Some 50 people marched to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
later to the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta urging intervention to ensure the best
legal defense for three Indonesian workers facing murder charges in Saudi
Arabia.

The protesters, including relatives of the three workers, called on the
government to hire top lawyers and translators to defend them in the Saudi
courts.

Accompanied by activists from the Women's Solidarity for Human Rights, they
also urged the government to stop sending workers to Saudi Arabia until after
Riyadh signed an agreement to provide legal protection for Indonesian
workers.

The protest outside the Saudi Embassy on Jl. M.T. Haryono, East Jakarta was
emotionally charged, with a mock performance of the beheading of an
Indonesian worker, symbolic of the execution of 27-year old Warni in Riyadh
three weeks ago.

Warni, from Malang, East Java, was convicted of murdering her Saudi employer
by a Saudi court two years ago, but the Indonesian Embassy learned of her
case only after her execution.

The Women's Solidarity for Human Rights say three other Indonesians could
face the death sentence in Saudi Arabia unless they are given proper defense
assistance.

The group said Siti Zaenab from Bangkalan, Madura, had confessed to a murder
charge to Madinah police last year.

An Indonesian couple from Bandung, Dedi Setiady and his wife Pipin Handayani,
have spent the past year in a detention center in Mecca for the alleged
murder of an Indonesian woman, Naimah.

Joining the protest was Kartini, a 35-year old Indonesian maid from Karawang,
West Java, who was spared from execution by stoning in United Arab Emirates
in March following an eleventh hour intervention by the Indonesian
government.

She had been sentenced to death for committing adultery, an offense she
unknowingly confessed in court because of her ignorance of the law and
inability to speak Arabic during the trial, which again, was not monitored by
the Indonesian Embassy.

After the government intervention, she was given a new trial during which she
said she was raped by an Indian cook working in the same house. She has since
given birth to a son.

The court gave Kartini a jail term and she was sent home after the completion
of her sentence last month.

Tati Krisnawaty of the Woman's Solidarity for Human Rights said Indonesia and
Saudi Arabia should sign a bilateral agreement regarding the protection of
Indonesian workers.

She said the government must review all policies and procedures for
protecting Indonesians sent to work abroad.

Most workers would be willing to wait until such an agreement has been
enacted, she said.

"The Ministry should have learned from Warni's case," Tati said during a
dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Head of the Information
Section, Sulaiman Abdul Manan.

The protesters later drove from the Ministry on Jl. Pejambon, Central
Jakarta, in two buses to the Saudi Embassy where they made a passionate
appeal to stop further executions of Indonesian workers.

They also urged the Saudi government to guarantee the protection of
Indonesian workers in accordance with the International Labor Organization
Convention.

The protesters were met by Mohammad Al Otaibi, the embassy's first secretary.

In spite of the embassy's pledge to cooperate, the protesters were still
worried and felt hopeless in their efforts to ensure greater protection for
Indonesian workers abroad.

"We will try again," Tati said. (07)

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