Indonesian migrant worker Ruyati binti Sapubi was beheaded in Mecca on this date in 2011 for the meat cleaver murder of her mistress. She numbered among the several hundred thousand Indonesian women hired as domestic servants in the Gulf kingdom.
“The maid carried out the killing after she was denied permission to leave the kingdom and return to her family in Indonesia, according to officials in Jakarta,” according to press reports on the very sketchy details allowed by Riyadh.
The mild and passive voice here conveys a wild overreaction by the help, but a moment’s consideration of the scenario — a terribly vulnerable imported domestic worker disallowed from leaving her job — puts matters into a different light. (To add diplomatic insult to injury, the Saudis failed to inform Indonesia when the actual execution was imminent.)
Indeed, just days after the execution, word leaked of a Sri Lankan domestic who had been secretly held in outright slavery for 14 years.
Mature Content: The execution was secretly recorded. This is a snuff film.
The Indonesian government slapped an immediate moratorium on overseas work in Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of this horror. Unfortunately, these and similar measures in the 2010s have only compounded the risk of trafficking, increasing the vulnerability of people desperate to secure work abroad.