Mr. President; Will you save his life?
An appeal to the President to intervene so as to prevent another beheading - the case of Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar who faces the death sentence in Qatar
An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission to the President of Sri Lanka, the Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa
( January 25, 2013, Colombo– Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) We reproduce below the letter written to His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka, the Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding the case of Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar who faces the death sentence by beheading in Doha, Qatar.
The AHRC urges its readers to write to the President of Sri Lanka at the address shown below to urgently intervene and to save the life of Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar
January 25, 2013
His Excellency, President Mahinda Rajapaksa
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Re: The possibility of another beheading like that of Rizana Nafeek - Appeal to assist the family of Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar with funds to stop the execution
The parents of Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar have earlier written to Your Excellency about the situation faced by their above named 22-year-old son who is facing the death sentence in Doha, Qatar, which may be carried out at any time. Your Excellency's office wrote to the mother of Mr. Sudeshkar requesting her to write to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment for the taking of further action on this matter. A letter from Your Excellency's office was dated March 26, 2012 and was written on behalf of the Senior Assistant Secretary, Ms. Meda Bemmulla. The problem facing the family now is that they have been asked to pay a sum of Rs. 350,000/= to the family of the deceased victim in this case in order to secure Mr. Sudeshkar release.
Accordingly the family contacted the said bureau and as they did not receive a satisfactory solution they sought our help as a human rights organisation. On January 18, 2013, the Asian Human Rights Commission wrote to Mr. Amal Senalankadhikara, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment requesting him to let the family know whether the bureau will assist by way of providing this sum in order to get this young Sri Lankan released; or otherwise to let us know of their decision so that we could make a public appeal to the international community to help the family raise this sum.
Unfortunately there has been no reply to this letter from Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment. Under these circumstances there is no other recourse available within the Sri Lankan administrative system to resort to but to Your Excellency as the President of Sri Lanka.
Your Excellency is aware the harsh circumstances of the legal system in the countries of the Middle East and the fact that death sentences are carried out regularly in these countries. The case of Rizana Nafeek's execution illustrates the kind of danger faced in such situations.
Under these circumstances we appeal to Your Excellency on behalf of the family of Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar to kind assist them in their desperate hour of need. With an order for Your Excellency the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment is likely to act on this issue on an urgent basis.
We are writing this purely on the basis of an attempt to assist a person and a family faced with the problem of a death sentence by intervening before the ultimate tragedy takes again.
We urge Your Excellency to intervene in this matter.
We await your kind reply.
Interim Executive Director
Asian Human Rights Commission
Please see below the original letter sent to Mr. Amal Senalankadhikara, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment
January 18, 2013
Mr. Amal Senalankadhikara
Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment
234, Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha
Fax :+ 94 11 2879903
E-mail : email@example.com
Dear Mr. Senalankadhikara,
Re: Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar - Sri Lankan Passport No. 4031544 - the young Sri Lankan worked to be executed in Doha, Qatar
I am sure you are aware of the captioned matter relating to the imminent execution of Mr. Wengadasalam Sudeshkar. The parents of Mr. Sudeshkar who have written to His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka seeking his intervention and assistance regarding their son have received a letter on behalf of the Senior Assistant Secretary to His Excellency stating that their letter has been referred to your bureau for the necessary action. It further informs that your bureau, in the future, will take the necessary steps regarding this matter.
The parents of Mr. Sudeshkar have sought our assistance in trying to obtain the release of their son who, we were told, has been sentenced to death on December 31, 2012. We have also learned that Mr. Sudeshkar is 22 years old as of now and that during the time of the incident which caused this unintentional death he was 20 years and six months of age.
We have also learned that negotiations have been conducted on this matter for settlement by way of paying blood money for the sum of Rs. 350,000/=, that is QAR. 100,000.
We have also learned that the family of Mr. Sudeshkar is extremely poor and that they are not in possession of any properties or financial resources and thus, are unable to raise this sum of money.
We are very perturbed due to the sudden execution of Rizana Nafeek. In that case we have worked since the death sentence came to be known in 2007 and at that stage, as the government did not want to pay any sum for the filing of the appeal the Asian Human Rights Commission raised the necessary funds for the legal fees and enabled the appeal.
After the appeal was refused and the death sentence reconfirmed the only way to save the life of Rizana Nafeek was the payment of blood money. However, the necessary negotiations relating to this matter were not conducted with success in time and the result was the beheading of this young Sri Lankan girl. During the interval between the sentencing and the death we wrote several times to the Sri Lankan government. At one stage Mr. Lalith Weeratunga wrote to the AHRC and said that the Sri Lankan government was willing to pay any blood money if that was the way to save the life of Rizana Nafeek.
I am writing this to inquire from you whether you are making arrangements for the payment of the blood money, the sum of Rs. 350,000/= in order to save the life of this young man. We would very much urge you to do so.
Please be kind enough to inform us urgently whether you will be doing this for otherwise the Asian Human Rights Commission will make a public appeal in order to collect this sum through public contributions. As the time is running out we hope you could reply to us as a matter of urgency. Your cooperation would of course be appreciated by everyone who is concerned with saving the life of this young man.
We await your kind reply.
Director Policy & Programme Development
Asian Human Rights Commission
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