A prosecutor at a court in Singapore has dropped a demand that the death sentence be imposed on an Indonesian maid accused of killing her employer’s 12-year-old daughter, and is instead demanding life imprisonment, the Indonesian embassy in the city-state said on Wednesday.
“The Indonesian embassy in Singapore, under Ambassador Andri Hadi and the defense team, has been able to get the prosecutor to drop the death sentence,” a statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Prosecutors had originally sought the death sentence for Nurhayati, a maid from Indramayu, West Java, but are now asking for 20 years in jail or a life sentence.
Andri was quoted in the statement as saying that the embassy, with help from the task force focusing on cases of Indonesian migrant workers facing the death sentence, will continue to lobby the prosecutor to lower his demand to 10 years.
They will use the argument that the case was one of culpable homicide, which under the Singaporean penal code carries up to 10 years in jail, rather than murder.
Nurhayati was accused of neglect, leading to the falling death of Linda Lee Yee Lin from her employer’s apartment on Hougang Street on Nov. 24, 2010.
The embassy will also argue that the defendant was still a minor, aged 16, when she was asked to take care of the handicapped child of her employer.
Nurhayati, whose travel documents claimed she was 24 at the time, was also often berated by her employer and threatened with a pay cut if she made mistakes or was slow in her work. An Indonesian maid earns about $450 a month in Singapore.
In March, the embassy successfully lobbied for the dropping of the death penalty for Indonesian maid Fitriah Depsi Wahyuni, from Jamber, East Java.
Fitriah was accused of inadvertently killing her employer, 87-year-old Sng Gek Wah, last year.
There are about 206,000 maids in Singapore, half of whom are from Indonesia.
Singapore is under pressure to improve working conditions for foreign maids. One in five households in the city-state of 5.2 million people have maids, many of whom live in full time. From next year, employers in Singapore will be forced to offer one day off per week.
The special task force, formed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has revealed that hundreds of Indonesians are facing death sentences in several countries. Last year an Indonesian maid was executed over a murder in Saudi Arabia.