Justice for Nani Suryani: A Female Migrant Worker Murdered in Saudi Arabia

One of the cases that is currently being handled by Solidaritas Perempuan’s Women, Migration, Trafficking and HIV/AIDS Program concerns the murder of Nani Suryani Karawang by her Saudi Arabian employers. Nani left Indonesia for Saudi Arabia in March 2009 to take on a position as a domestic worker. Nani, who was in her twenties, from Karawang, West Java, began to experience violence at the hands of her employers, Fatin Hassan Abbas Al Blusy and Ibrahim Ali Al Husain, seven months into her employment. Of the one year and ten months Nani was employed, she only received four months wages. The last communication between Nani and her family was in September 2009.

Nani’s family received no other news about her until in June 2011 when they were informed by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry that she had died on January 1st 2011. There seems to be no explanation for the delay in informing her family beyond that communication between the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh and the Indonesian Foreign Ministry was not effective.  To this day it is not known what specifically caused Nani’s death. Nani’s family, the Indonesian Government and SP point to wounds on her body, undernourishment and the fact that her employers did not take her to hospital when she fell down the stairs, as evidence that her employers intentionally killed her. While an exact cause of death is unknown, it is believed she died of ongoing mistreatment at the hands of her bosses.

This case remains unresolved for Nani’s family. In Saudi Arabia the legal case continues, both of the suspects claim that Nani’s death was unintentional and Fatin Hassan Abbas Al Blusy’s defence team claims that she suffers from mental illness requiring hospitalization. Al Blusy has received a 2 year jail term and has been sentenced to 200 lashes, and Ibrahim Ali Al Husain has received a 1 year jail term.

Solidaritas Perempuan is assisting Nani’s family achieve justice for her death. According to Saudi Arabian law, the relatives of a murder victim must receive financial compensation from the perpetrators. As the Saudi courts have determined that Nani’s death was unintentional, the maximum compensation they can receive is SAR200,000 (US$53,329). Solidaritas Perempuan, on behalf of Nani’s family, is pushing for the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to call on the Saudi government to demand SAR 1,000,000 (US$266,648.89) compensation from the suspects.

Solidaritas Perempuan is also assisting the family of Nani in their attempts to access her life insurance. Nani purchased insurance before leaving for Saudi Arabia from an Indonesian company but the company has not paid the money her family is entitled to according to the insurance policy.

By: Sarah Elizabeth Coe*
*Sarah is an intern at Solidaritas Perempuan

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