She is facing the death sentence by beheading in public in Saudi Arabia
“This case must be taken very seriously by the Human right campaigners as there are over 500.000 house maids from Sri Lanka are in the Middle Eastern countries as well in Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Greece and many other countries. They bring large sums of foreign currency to Sri Lanka,yet not getting much protection from Sri Lankan government. Many thousands of Sri Lankan maids are sexually and physically abused by their employers. According to a report, a few years ago over 40.000 children of Sri lankan maids in the middle eastern countries were made stateless as they were the result of sexual abuse.” Image: Mohammad Rezina, mother of Rizana Nafeek, with two of her daughters at home in Sri Lanka
by Rajeswary Balasubramaniam
(April 15, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Rizana nafeek a 19 year-old housemaid from Sri Lanka, is facing the death sentence by beheading in public in Saudi Arabia as she was accused of killing an infant of four months old while she was feeding that infant in 2005.
Our deepest condolences to the parents of the dead baby.
Campaigning for clemency to Rizana is very important as, we believe that there many issues to be taken in to account.
According to her, she was battered by her employer into confessing the murder, she was asked signed the confession in Arabic which she has no knowledge of and she was not given a translator or a lawyer to support her during the trial when she was sentenced.
It seems that there is no checking of her age or experience of working with young children.
Also according to her letter to her parents in Muthur in Sri Lanka she had described how she had to look after 10 children in the household as well working from 03am in the morning until 11pm at night, this is beyond the capacity of a normal human being and would cause fatigue,resulting in inability to concentrate on and perform tasks competently.
It seems to be that there is no indication that Doctors have verified that that the child was killed by feeding. Also the baby's condition of health is never mentioned.
She was sent to Saudi Arabia by an employment agency from Colombo who supplied a false passport saying that she was 23 years old (02.02.1982), whereas she was actually only 17 years old(D.O.B is 04.02.1988) when the alleged crime took place. According to the Saudi law,there is no death penalty for young person under 19 years of age.
But this young lady had gone with a passport saying that she was 23 years old.
By the Muslim ''Shari a'' law, a person can be conflicted of a crime t if that person confesses to the crime, which she did under duress without any advice,assistance or representation from a translator or a lawyer.
There are many organisations such as Amnesty international and Asia Human right commission(Hong Kong based) as well as various other organisations and thousands of individuals that are campaigning for clemency.
Human right campaigners must ask the mother of infant for clemency. When I met the Sri Lankan foreign minister Hon.Rohitha Bogallagama, he said that he had met the Saudi officials and also a Prince and discussed about Rizana's case. He said that the human right campaigners should ask the forgiveness of mother of the dead infant to free Rizana from execution. According to ' Sharia' law Rizana will get her freedom if the mother pardon her.
As the as she was too young to be conflicted, she was not given any legal support, she was sent with the false passport and she was not checked whether she had any experience of working with young babies.
This case must be taken very seriously by the Human right campaigners as there are over 500.000 house maids from Sri Lanka are in the Middle Eastern countries as well in Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Greece and many other countries. They bring large sums of foreign currency to Sri Lanka,yet not getting much protection from Sri Lankan government. Many thousands of Sri lankan maids are sexually and physically abused by their employers. According to a report,a few years ago over 40.000 children of Sri lankan maids in the middle eastern countries were made stateless as they were the result of sexual abuse.
Sri Lankan government gave them citizenship.
There is not many laws to protect people like Rizana who are forced into employment due to the ongoing war in Sri Lanka and the resulting lack of work opportunity for poor families.
Four Sri Lankan young men were beheaded in Saudi in February last year. Rizana Nafeek also sentenced to death by beheading in public
Poverty has forced people like Rizana to endanger their lives in foreign countries. Governments, Human right organisation,International communities and individuals should take action against agencies who are preying on vulnerable people. Appropriate training and strict Law must be introduced by the Sri Lankan government to protect workers such as Rizana.
Rizana's case was taken to the supreme court in Saudi Arabia and the supreme court judge is asking the original court for details The judge has ordered the translator who was at the original hearing to come forward for further inquiry. Rizana need to be free, forgiveness of the mother of the dead infant would be possible if the human right campaigners write and ask her for clemency for Rizana.
Please write your letter to the infant's parents and asking them clemency for Rizana.
Please write your plea to:
Re- Clemency for Rizana Nafeek,
Mr&Mrs.Naif Jizijan Khalaf Al-Otabi
Sri Lankan Embassy,
PO Box 94360,
Fax................009661 460 8846
for further info-
Rajes Bala, 0208 889 7827,
- Sri Lanka Guardian