Workers demand release of migrant worker facing death sentence in Malaysia

CNN Indonesia – January 28, 2016
Migrant workers from KPP protest in Hong Kong - June 17, 2017 (Ilalang Vicktoria)
Migrant workers from KPP protest in Hong Kong - June 17, 2017 (Ilalang Vicktoria)

Yohannie Linggasari, Jakarta – Workers from a number of different communities demonstrated in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta today demanding that an Indonesian migrant worker named Rita Krisdianti who is facing the death sentence in Malaysia be released.

“According to information from family members, Rita will appear in court in Malaysia again today, possibly today there will be a verdict. We call on the Malaysian government to release Rita from charges that could incur the death penalty”, said Indonesian People’s Centre for Struggle (PPRI) action coordinator Ramches Merdeka in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta on Thursday January 28.

Ramches said that Rita’s family has not been provided with sufficient information on the legal proceedings against Rita and efforts by the Indonesian government to assist her have amounted to nil.

Ramches said that on May 24, 2012 Rita was registered as a migrant worker who would be dispatched by PT Putra Indo Sejahtera (PT PIS) in Madiun, East Java, to Hong Kong. On January 2013 Rita departed for Hong Kong.

Less than three months later, Rita was sacked by her employer and then returned to the agency in Hong Kong, which then sent her to Macau to wait for a new job and visa.

“In June 2013, Rita made plans to return home to Madiun because she had already been at the agency’s reception centre in Macau for three months. It was when she was about to return home that a friend offered her a part-time job with a saree textile and clothing business”, said Ramches.

Ramches related how Rita was directed to fly to New Delhi, India in relation to the saree clothing business where she stayed the night.

“There there was a person who entrusted a suitcase with her who said it contained clothing. Rita was asked to take the suitcase to Penang, Malaysia, because there was a person there who wanted to collect it”, said Ramches.

Upon arriving at the Bayan Lepas international airport in Penang on July 10, 2013, Rita was arrested by the Royal Malaysian Police. It turned out that the suitcase contained a 4 kilogram packet of narcotics. The penalty for this in Malaysia is the death by hanging.

“Since mid July 2013 until now, Poniyati, Rita’s mother, has met with the victim who has been held at the Penang district detention centre six times in the hope of being able to lobby for Rita to be released, but has failed. She has used her own money [for this] without assistance from the [Indonesian] government”, said Ramches.

Ramches asks where the Indonesian government is when its citizen become prisoners in other countries. Ramches believes that Rita is a victim of a drug dealer from a narcotics syndicate.

“We demand that the government of Jokowi-JK [President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla] and the Malaysia prime minister urge the Malaysian courts to release Rita from a possible death sentence”, said Ramches. (rdk)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Buruh Berunjuk Rasa Tuntut Pembebasan Rita dari Hukuman Mati.]