Jakarta. After weeks of controversy, the Indonesian government said today it had formally agreed to pay blood money in exchange for the life of Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad, 41, of Ungaran, Central Java, who was scheduled for execution on Friday in Saudi Arabia after admitting to slaying her former employer in 2007 and fleeing with 37,970 riyal ($10,125).
"We have agreed to give the victim's family what they demanded," coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs Djoko Suyanto said on Thursday, as quoted by a report published on Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi’s official website, setkab.go.id.
The al-Garib family — the close relatives of Nura, who was killed — initially requested 10 million riyal in 2011, but the Indonesian government managed to negotiate the amount to 7 million, with 5 million to be paid now and another two due in the next two years.
Djoko said the government had agreed to pay the diyat (blood money) in full and that Satinah was expected to be spared.
He said that a diplomatic a task force led by former religious affairs minister Maftuh Basyuni had conveyed the message to the victim's family.
"Our team left for [Saudi Arabia's] Qassim province on Thursday morning to meet the governor and convey that the Indonesian government had agreed to meet the family's demand," Djoko said.
He said that the Saudi government had also confirmed having received a letter sent by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
"The letter from the president has been sent to Saudi Arabian king, and the Saudis have responded by telling us that the Kingdom's staffs will work on a pardon," he said.
Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care, andNGO that advocates for the rights of migrant workers, said she welcomed the government's actions.
"Finally, the public movement initiated by social media users has successfully touched the government's arrogance, they can no longer ignore the fact that saving a citizen is the country's responsibility," Anis said.
The social movement joined by celebrities, public officials and activists, led by singer Melanie Subono, managed to collect Rp 2.8 billion ($246,400) for the cause.
"From the very beginning our main objective was not only to collect [Rp] 7 million, but also to push the government and to tell them that they cannot let the people to take over the responsibility to save Satinah," she said.
Anis said she would let the donors to decide what to do with the funds collected through the movement.
'We will discuss this later, maybe we can use it for the greater good, but we don't advise that the money be given to Satinah's family," she said.
In a meeting earlier this week with the families of migrant workers facing death penalties overseas, Yudhoyono said that 246 Indonesian migrant workers were facing death but that 176 had been freed during his time in office.