SEMARANG - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in Semarang on Sunday that 176 Indonesians based overseas had been released from their death sentences, while efforts were still under way to free another 246 who remain on death row in several countries.
The President made the statement during a meeting with eight relatives of several Indonesian migrant workers who are facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.
"We are seeking to apologise for Indonesian migrant workers who are on death row. I have deliberately not publicized details of our ongoing efforts to prevent any possible tumult," Yudhoyono said in the meeting, which took place at the Gumaya Tower Hotel in Semarang.
The President added that he had spoken with senior officials in the Saudi Arabian government, asking them to commute the death sentences against the Indonesians.
Due to these ongoing efforts, Yudhoyono said, the government had secured a delay of the planned execution of Satinah, a female Indonesian migrant worker who has been on death row in Saudi Arabia for three years.
Relatives of Satinah, who comes from Mrunten in Kalisidi village, West Ungaran, Semarang regency, said they felt relieved after meeting with President Yudhoyono. Attending the meeting, Satinah's family comprised her older brother, Paeri Al Feri, 47, and her daughter, Nur Afriana, 20.
"We believe Mr President has made a relentless effort (to free Satinah from the death penalty)," Paeri said at his home on Monday.
At the meeting with Satinah's relatives, the President said he had again written a letter to the Saudi king, requesting a pardon.
Meanwhile, a special team led by former religious affairs minister Maftuh Basyuni, is still negotiating the amount of diyat (compensation to the victim's family) the government must pay.
It has been reported that the victim's family has agreed to reduce the diyat to Rp 15 billion (S$1.68 million) from the Rp 21 billion previously requested.
"We haven't heard that. We are still waiting for information from the Foreign Ministry. We've entrusted the entire matter to the government," Paeri added.