Saudi couple meet Indonesian maid they forgave for murder of their child

Ghalib Nasir Al-Hamri Al-Balawi and his wife at the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta on Monday. The couple arrived in Indonesia for a week-long stay, with the assistance of the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah. (AN photo)
Updated 08 May 2018
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Saudi couple meet Indonesian maid they forgave for murder of their child

  • Masamah’s lengthy trial began in 2009 after local authorities accused her of murdering Al-Balawi’s child after they found her fingerprints on the baby’s face.
  • Masamah has always maintained her innocence and said that she only rubbed the baby’s face after she found it unconscious.

JAKARTA: A Saudi couple from Tabuk have met the Indonesian domestic helper they pardoned after she was sentenced to death for murdering their 11-month-old child in 2009.

Ghalib Nasir Al-Hamri Al-Balawi and his wife arrived in Indonesia on May 3 for a week-long stay, which included a visit to Cirebon in West Java to meet Masamah bint Raswa Sanusi and her family.

“I didn’t seek for anything else by giving her pardon but God’s mercy,” Al-Balawi said through a translator during a press conference at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Jakarta on Monday.

He said that he was very impressed with the hospitatlity showed by Indonesia during their first visit to the country.

Arief Hidayat, an official from the Foreign Ministry’s Directorate for Protection of Indonesian Citizens Abroad, said that the couple’s visit was facilitated by the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah in appreciation of the couple’s compassion and willingness to forgive Masamah.

“We took them to Cirebon by train and they were greeted by the acting Cirebon district head upon arrival,” Hidayat said, adding that they also took the couple to the safari park in Cisarua in the mountainous Puncak area, a popular destination for tourists from Middle Eastern countries.

Masamah’s lengthy trial began in 2009 after local authorities accused her of murdering Al-Balawi’s child after they found her fingerprints on the baby’s face.

Masamah has always maintained her innocence and said that she only rubbed the baby’s face after she found it unconscious. She was sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 but the district attorney appealed and she was sentenced to death in 2016.

During her appeal trial in March 2017, Al-Balawi pardoned her and decided not to demand blood money, but Masamah still had to serve the remaining two and a half years of her prison sentence.

She was released from prison in January and stayed at the consulate general’s shelter until she was cleared to leave and return to Indonesia in March.


Saudis, expats share Eid experience in the Kingdom

Eid Al-Adha prayers held in different locations of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 42 min 1 sec ago
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Saudis, expats share Eid experience in the Kingdom

JEDDAH: Muslims celebrate their second beloved Eid, the Eid Al-Adha, the second Eid of the year after the Eid Al-Fitr.
It is the biggest festival of the year, to commemorate the valor, bravery and faithfulness of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his son Ismail (peace be upon him). Prophet Ismail was brave and young and willingly offered himself for sacrifice, when his father was asked to sacrifice his most beloved possession.
Moments before Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his beloved son, Allah sent a ram to take Ismail’s place, and now millions of Muslims celebrate this day by sacrificing animals and dividing them into three parts. One third is distributed among the poor, one third among relatives and the last third is kept for the family.
This Eid is a source of immense joy to Muslims as they decorate their houses, wear new clothes and give as much as they can to the poor. It focuses on food more than any other events. After the obvious distribution, giving to the poor and worshipping, people tend to hold dinners with the main dishes made with meat, or hold barbecues, to celebrate with friends and families.
In many different countries, people have different traditions they follow: In China, families go to their ancestors’ graves and pray for their forgiveness in front of Allah. In the West, gifts are given to children, and in the Middle East youngsters are given money called “Eidi” or “Eidiya.”
Children are the most excited about this event as they get to enjoy their favorite food and receive money and gifts from elders.
Ghala Al-Otaibi, a Saudi citizen of Taif, said: “We celebrate Eid with relatives living at a distance and parents; there is usually a variety of food.”
Mohammad Al-Harthy, also from Taif, said: “We visit our families and enjoy a lot, we usually slaughter a sheep or a camel. Most of the people celebrate Eid in the same way, but the only difference may be in food traditions.”
Amna Abbasi, a Pakistani mother from Jubail, said: “During Eid, adults and children wear new clothes and exchange gifts with each other. Children love to participate in this process as they learn the value of giving to others and cherishing the smiles of the needy.”