Saudi Arabia has beheaded an Indonesian migrant worker for murder despite suspicions that the accused was forced into his confession and repeated pleas by Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo that the man be granted clemency.
According to Migrant Care, an Indonesian organization focusing on the welfare of Indonesian migrant workers, Zaini Misrin, a driver, was executed on Sunday. He was found guilty of the murder of his Saudi employer in 2008, after being arrested four years earlier.
Migrant Care suspected that the 53-year-old had been forced to confess to the murder. The group further claimed that Zaini did not receive legal assistance during his trial and was only accompanied by a translator believed to be complicit in forcing him to confess to the crime he claimed he did not commit.
“Saudi Arabia also did not notify Indonesia [about the execution] either through the consulate general in Jeddah or the Foreign Ministry,” the group said in a statement released on Monday.
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry confirmed the execution and Migrant Care’s claim that it was not notified by Riyadh beforehand about the beheading.
“Misrin’s trial and execution were a gross human rights violation,” Migrant Care director Wahyu Susilo was quoted as telling ucanews.com on March 19. “Misrin said he was forced to confess to the murder. He faced pressure and intimidation from Saudi Arabian authorities.”
President Jokowi made requests for clemency in Zaini’s case during Saudi monarch King Salman’s visit to the Southeast Asian country in 2015 and during two other meetings between the two leaders.
According to an AFP count, over 30 people of all nationalities have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year.
Saudi Arabia’s execution rate has doubled since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed crown prince in 2017, according to the anti-death penalty rights group Reprieve. The group said 133 executions have taken place in the eight months since his appointment last June, compared with 67 in the eight months before.
Maya Foa, the group’s director, said, “The doubling of executions under the new crown prince reveals that, beneath his glossy public image, Mohammed bin Salman is one of the most brutal leaders in the kingdom’s recent history.
Reprieve said 18 young men are currently facing imminent execution for protest-related offenses under Saudi Arabia’s wide-ranging “anti-terrorism” laws. Eight of those were children at the time of their alleged offenses.
Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions across the kingdom last year. In the most stunning case of executions in 2016, Saudi Arabia executed on January 2 Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along 46 other people in defiance of international calls for the release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political dissidents in the kingdom.
Saudi officials execute convicts by sword and then dangle their corpses from a helicopter to make sure the public could see the result of the execution.
Concern is growing about the increasing number of executions in Saudi Arabia.Saudi authorities say the executions reveal the Saudi government’s commitment to “maintaining security and realizing justice.” The country has come under particular criticism from rights groups for the executions carried out for non-fatal crimes.
According to the London-based rights group Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Saudi regime to abolish its “ghastly” beheadings.