Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rizana Nafeek executed

Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek who was on death row on charges of having killed an infant has been executed in Saudi Arabia, External Affairs Ministry said today.

The Saudi Arabian government has gone ahead with her execution despite assurances as late as last week from various diplomatic sources that she would be released. Members of Parliament observed a minute’s silence in Rizana’s memory.

Despite assurances as late as last week from the Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia that she would be released, the Saudi Arabian government went ahead with her execution.

Last Saturday President Mahinda Rajapaksa sent a second appeal to the King of Saudi Arabia seeking her release calling for a deferral of the execution until a settlement was reached between the parents of the deceased and the reconciliation committee negotiating on behalf of the Sri Lankan government.

Nafeek arrived in Saudi Arabia in April 2005 to work in the household of Arabian National Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al Otaibi. The infant in her care had choked and died while being bottle fed on 25th May, 2005.

She was arrested on the same day of the incident and, according to Saudi Authorities confessed to the killing of the child. However, she later retracted her statement, claiming that her initial confession had been obtained under duress.

In 2007 a three-member panel of judges from the Dawadami High Court headed by Chief Justice Abdullah Al-Rosaimi found Rizana Nafeek guilty of murdering the four-month-old infant. An appeal against the beheading of the accused was filed on behalf of Rizana by a Riyadh-based law firm, later that year.

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