Sun, 08 Apr 2001

Coffin paraded at Saudi embassy

JAKARTA (JP): The Saudi Arabian Embassy got an unexpected and macabre guest on Saturday morning when a coffin containing the remains of slain worker Sringatin was placed at the front gate of the embassy.

Wrapped in a green cloth, the coffin was taken to the embassy to protest the death and treatment of the 27-year-old slain maid who had been working in Saudi Arabia since 1998.

Sringatin's remains arrived at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 11:30 a.m. and were received by her family. Also on hand was Tangerang Police chief Sr. Comr. Arfan Rismanto.

From the airport the procession went directly to the embassy on Jl. MT. Haryono, South Jakarta.

Several dozen policemen were on hand at the peaceful procession, making sure that everything was orderly.

According to reports the female worker had allegedly been raped repeatedly by her employer Abd Ali Jaman Al Zahrani since she began working for him on Nov. 13, 1998.

Ali allegedly killed Sringatin on June 22 last year after he found out that she had become pregnant.

The bereaved mother, Sri Rahayu, revealed to reporters her sense of loss.

"I cannot accept my daughter's unnatural death," she said in front of the embassy.

Head of the Legal Aid Service Institute for Indonesian Manpower (LPBH TKI) Munir Achmad who organized the procession told The Jakarta Post on Saturday that the group accompanying the procession was only received by embassy security head Aznan and staff.

Munir said at the end of the procession, the group prayed for Sringatin and left a message for the Saudi Arabian government through the staff, to pay attention to the matter.

"I just want to remind them through the embassy that as Muslims the Saudi Arabian nation must appreciate Indonesian workers and pay attention to workers' rights and safety because Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are in mutual need," he remarked.

According to Munir, Sringatin's case remains unresolved even though the Thaif Religious Court in Saudi Arabia arrested Ali and his wife for the alleged murder.

Munir further called on the Indonesian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to be more attentive to the plight of Indonesian workers there, and not merely busy themselves collecting an US$11 fee from the workers.

"It is absolutely unbelievable that the Indonesian Embassy had no knowledge of Sringatin's death for such a long time. We have sent letters informing the embassy but they have yet to answer us," he said.

He added that the Indonesian government, especially the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, should also fight for a thorough investigation into such cases including ensuring a fair legal settlement.

"The ministry also levies $20 for every worker sent to Saudi Arabia. Therefore if unacceptable things happen to Indonesian workers, the ministry should do something," Munir added.

After the rally in front of the embassy, Sringatin's remains were taken to her home in Klorokan village, Geger district, Madiun, East Java, where she will be buried. (01)