Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry sent the money to its embassy in Riyadh to secure the release of Darsem binti Dawud. “The compensation was paid by two officers of the Indonesian Embassy to a panel at the Riyadh governorate dealing with the case,” said Hendrar Pramutyo, an official of the embassy’s Citizen Protection Wing, on Saturday. “The payment of blood money is an expression of the Indonesian government’s commitment to protect its overseas workers at any cost.” He said the Riyadh court had already decided to release the maid, who is currently languishing in the Malaz Jail. “I am hopeful that the maid will be released shortly,” said the embassy official. Dawud is a migrant worker hailing from the city of Subang in Indonesia’s West Java province. She was convicted by a Riyadh court in May 2009. The court sentenced her to death by beheading. The maid has always maintained her employer tried to rape her and she was acting in self-defense, according to reports published in a section of the Indonesian media Saturday. In January the employer's family agreed to forgive Dawud if they were paid the compensation by July this year. Earlier, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa had asked the Indonesian House of Representatives to approve the transfer of blood money to resolve the case, which comes under the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s citizen protection budget. “Due to the sensitive and immediate nature of the issue, we worry that we will miss the deadline if we keep discussing and negotiating … we will end up encountering new problems,” he told legislators in Jakarta on Friday. On Friday, Indonesian activists also demonstrated in front of the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta and protested against the sentence.
There have also been frequent protests in Indonesia after a maid was executed in Makkah a fortnight ago. Jakarta called home its ambassador to the Kingdom Gatot Abdullah Mansyur for consultations following the execution of Indonesian maid Ruyati binti Sapubi. A formal letter of protest was also sent to Saudi Arabia. Indonesia has since announced a ban on the recruitment of workers to Saudi Arabia. The ban will be effective from Aug. 1 this year. There are 28 Indonesian maids currently on death row in Saudi Arabia, as well as 1,000 languishing in different jails across the Kingdom for petty crimes. More than 1.2 million Indonesian workers live and work in the Kingdom.