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Pardoned by king, Indonesian maid returns home

An Indonesian maid who was sentenced to two years and 400 lashes on charges of sorcery has been repatriated home safely, said Dede Achmad Rifai, a spokesman of the Indonesian Embassy, here Sunday.
Rifai refuted allegations of capital punishment handed down to the maid by a Saudi court saying that the maid, Ati Abeh Inan, 40, was never given a death sentence. Referring to the misleading reports published in a section of the press, Rifai said that the official documents clearly state that Ati was proved guilty of sorcery against her employer’s wife and family members by the General Court in Al-Ahsa but was not on death row.
“She was sentenced to two years and 400 lashes for violating civil rights and one year for violating private rights according to the diplomatic note sent by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Indonesian Embassy,” the official said.
The diplomatic note clearly says that the housemaid was not sentenced to death. Since she had completed her sentence she was free to go and was sent to Indonesia early this year, the official asserted.
However, a number of Indonesian domestic workers are confined in jails across the country facing potential death sentences for practicing witchcraft, sorcery or murdering their employers.
Some of them have exhausted all judicial appeals. Migrant Care, an Indonesian NGO which is following up their cases says most of the convicted Indonesian female workers acted in self-defense against maltreatment by employers including sexual or physical abuse.
Saudi Arabia is home to over one million Indonesian workers, mainly domestic helpers and housemaids.

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