On death row for sorcery, maid spared by king

Updated 15 February 2014
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On death row for sorcery, maid spared by king

An Indonesian housemaid, on death row for sorcery, has been pardoned by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
“Ati Bt Abeh Inan, who has been languishing in Al-Ahsa jail for casting a magic spell on her employer and his family, has been released and sent back to Indonesia,” said Ahrul Tsani Fathurrahman, a spokesman for the Indonesian Embassy, on Wednesday.
“The embassy expresses its gratitude to King Abdullah and to authorities in Saudi Arabia for their cooperation in releasing Ati,” said Fathurrahman.
Ati hails from an impoverished region of Sukabumi in West Java.
The maid, who was reunited with her family this week in Indonesia, had been working for a Saudi family in Al-Ahsa since 2003.
“The case of Ati could be classified as a death-row case … as you know, practicing or using black magic, or what we call witchcraft, could lead to a death sentence in the Kingdom,” said Fathurrahman.
Her case was complex one because “her employer himself accused her of using black magic and allegedly forced her to admit the allegation,” he said.
She was then sentenced by Al-Ahsa General Court in 2003 by her admission of the allegation.
The spokesman was also asked about progress made in the case of another Indonesian housemaid due to be executed this month.
He said “Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad, a 40-year-old Indonesian female worker, has received clemency from her employer’s heirs upon condition that Satinah and her family pay SR7 million in blood money.”
Satinah may be executed this month if her family or the Jakarta government fails to raise the money.
Satinah is facing death for murdering her employer and fleeing with SR37,500 cash in 2007.
Fathurrahman said: “Satinah’s family has so far been able to collect SR4 million, including SR3 million in contributions by the Indonesian government.”
This also includes about SR500,000 donated by Indonesians and another SR500,000 from an unnamed Saudi donor.
“Satinah’s family, especially her only daughter, 20-year-old Nur Afriani, sincerely hopes that the victim’s heirs will accept SR4 million in blood money,” said Fathurrahman.
Nur was 11 when her mother left her in Indonesia.
Arab News asked the embassy about the date of execution if the demanded amount is not raised.
It suggested the Qassim governorate be contacted for details.


First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

Updated 27 June 2019
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First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.