Sri Lankan maid facing execution in Saudi Arabia

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Jul 9 2007

Yet another maid faces an execution in the Gulf, this time in Saudi Arabia, for supposed murder. According to the BBC:

The maid, Rizana Nafeek, is accused of killing a baby in her care.

She had originally confessed to killing the four-month-old Saudi baby boy in 2005 but later retracted her statement saying it had been made under duress.

There are more than one million domestic maids working in Saudi Arabia. Rizana Nafeek has one week left in which to appeal against her sentence.

The Hong-Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission said what had happened was an enormous tragedy, but it wanted to prevent an innocent teenager being executed.

State sanctioned murder is no different than any other kind of murder.

UPDATE: July 14 Mohammed Rasooldeen reports today on Arab News:

Rizana’s father, Mohammed Nafeek told Arab News from Colombo that his family is on tenterhooks thinking about the fate of his daughter.

“She went to Saudi Arabia only in search of greener pasture for a better life for her brother Rifkan, 15, and sisters Rifqa, 11, and Rizna, 10,” Nafeek said, pointing out that a sub-agent who recruits young girls from remote villages for overseas employment had successfully lured Rizana for lucrative employment in the Kingdom saying that she could build a house for her family.

Mother Razeena said: “Rizana is a timid girl, I cannot just believe that she had committed such a major crime.”

Further complicating the issue is that Rizana’s age on her birth certificate (February 1988) is different than the age on her passport (February 1982). Saudi Arabia is a signatory to the international Convention on the Rights of the Child that prohibits putting to death minors (under the age of 18).

Rizana’s family claims that the date on her passport was forged in order to facilitate her passage to Saudi Arabia.

She turned 17 two months before the death of the infant, according to her Lankan birth certificate, but her working papers say she was 23 at the time of the alleged murder.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior Muslim Parliamentarian Mohamed Haniffa Mohamed is hopeful that the parents will give the pardon.

M.B.M. Zubair, secretary-general of Federation of Muslim Associations in the Kandy district, told Arab News that the Sri Lankan Muslims and even the non-Muslim are concerned over Rizana’s fate in this case, which is being talked about all over Sri Lanka.

“We humbly appeal to all those concerned to pardon this girl for the sake of our religion,” Zubair, who is also an attorney-at-law, stressed.

Read the rest of the article here.

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