Government seeking evidence regarding illegal confinement of 300 TKI

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian government is searching for evidence related to the alleged illegal confinement of 300 Indonesian migrant workers (TKI) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“We cannot declare yet that the alleged illegal confinement is true or false as we are still conducting investigations,” the Foreign Affairs Ministrys Director for Protection of Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said during a press briefing at the ministrys office in Jakarta on Friday.

He also set the record straight by saying that the Foreign Affairs Ministry had never made a statement that 300 Indonesian workers were being locked up in Riyadh.

“The truth is we have repatriated 10 Indonesian workers seeking to work in Saudi Arabia as they did not go to the country based on the applicable procedures,” he said.

He further said that one of the 10 Indonesian migrant workers that have been repatriated revealed that there were 300 TKIs locked up in Riyadh.

“We did not want to ignore the confession. We keep taking it into consideration. We are making investigations to make it clear,” he said.

Of the 10 Indonesian workers that have been repatriated, six had escaped from their employers and asked for protection from the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh.

Lalu said the ministry had found the remaining four Indonesian workers while visiting Al-Jeraisy, a company that brings Indonesian workers to Saudi Arabia, after which the four workers were brought to the Indonesian embassy to be repatriated after which they went to Saudi Arabia for a non-procedural labor delivery.

The workers had gone to Saudi Arabia to be employed in the cleaning services field. In fact, they were working as household assistants. Because of the wrong procedure of labor delivery, they have been repatriated.

“The confession was made by one of the 10 Indonesian workers that have been repatriated. In the confession, he/she said that there were 300 Indonesian workers being locked up by Al-Jeraisy,” he pointed out.

Responding it, Lalu said the ministry had confirmed with Al-Jeraisy about the information received on Indonesian workers being locked up in Riyadh.

“We only have a confession. We need hard evidence, physical evidence to prove it, such as photos,” he remarked.

Therefore, the ministry is working to obtain evidence to clarify the issue, he said.

“A raid (against the company) can only be carried out if we have sufficient evidence,” Lalu emphasized.

He further said the company has already got a block visa or a quota of 1,200 Indonesian workers to be sent to Saudi Arabia. Currently, according to the data, the company has hired about 152 workers.

In addition, the ministry has sent a diplomatic note to the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Saudi Arabia to request for investigations to reveal the truth of the issue.

He added that his side has also communicated with the Riyadh police to engage in the investigation.

The Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh also continues to collect information about the issue in a bid to provide justification for the Riyadh police to conduct further investigations.

“The Saudi Arabia government has made quite a big commitment to help us, and now we are working to collect evidence,” he revealed.

Source: Antara News