Fri, 17 Mar 2000

Saving Kartini

An Indonesian maid in the United Arab Emirates has been sentenced to death by stoning.

Indonesia must save Kartini at all costs from this brutal legal murder and join forces with Amnesty International, the media and perhaps the world, and bring to light that by 2000, stoning a person to death is intentional torture by the first degree.

As matured adults, we are civilized enough to know that such a death penalty for a nonhideous crime is inhuman, brutal. When a country says this or that human being is not worth saving, it cheapens the rest of us; it brutalizes the rest of us and we could become a more violent society.

The case of 35-year-old Kartini is that of an Indonesian maid with no academic background, who set forth from her country where the economic situation is in a recession only to meet with a destiny that wants to claim her life, sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery by an Islamic Tribunal court in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE is a member of the United Nation, where it is responsible and committed to the Human Rights treat. A crime that had harmed no one in this context except for the fact that she conceived a baby who will soon be without a mother and a father. A so-called crime that is, actually, only a civil social problem.

According to the UAE court, she had an affair with another foreign national (two consenting adults) not with a UAE citizen. The alleged key witness to this so-called crime has disappeared. Lending a doubtful ear to the Jakarta rumor mill, who really did it? Kartini grew up in Indonesia, where the laws are more moderate and civilized; where her own people and government are reasonable.

Kartini does not deserve to be stoned to death and neither does anyone else for that matter. It is strange to note that the people of Indonesia received this awful cruel news only after her sentencing. Why was there no news prior to the sentencing? or was it kept muffled? are questions we should ponder or act on. Was the ambassador of Indonesia to the Emirates aware of this terrible predicament?

We must condemn the act of stoning a human being. The government should further protect Indonesian women by not allowing them to obtain work permits to countries that treat women as outright slaves, where death penalties are meted for petty crimes, social misconduct or even for sex.

If one were to lament that adultery should be made a crime, then how many of you reading this deserve to be punished, including the male gender? Sex and adultery are social problems, not crimes. Even in countries like Singapore, which has laws for adultery, it is a law used not to arrest people but maturely used as grounds for divorce in civil cases. The police do not go around arresting people and checking to see who is sleeping with whom. I disagree with Indonesia's foreign minister, Alwi Shihab, who, according to media reports, said that the maid should be punished in Indonesia for her bad behavior.

If this is so, then he must also punish all those who keep four wives, (how allowable is this in the holy book?), those with mistresses and so forth.


Publisher of

Roving Insight