01/07/2013, 00.00
SRI LANKA - SAUDI ARABIA

Rizana Nafeek, execution "imminent" in a Saudi jail

by Melani Manel Perera
This was revealed by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Appeal from Government of Sri Lanka to renew diplomatic efforts. The young woman on death row since 2007. She can only be released if pardoned by parents who accuse her of murdering their baby.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Rizana Nafeek may be executed "at any moment" warns Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), while calling for the intervention of the international community to ask Saudi Arabia to pardon the Sri Lankan Muslim, sentenced to death for the alleged murder of a newborn. Citing Kifaya Iftekhar, a muslim who is closely following the case, the AHRC says the execution of the young woman is "imminent", and calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to "renew diplomatic efforts" to save her life.

Hailing from a very poor family, Rizana arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2005, just 17 years old (with a false passport), to work as a maid. The child in the family where she was working died while she was on duty. Rizana was accused of murder and sentenced to death with a mock trial, based on a signed confession that she did not know the content of, because it was written in Arabic. Since 2007, she has been on death row.

Recently, it seemed that the story of Rizana had come to a positive turning point, thanks to certain statements made by the Crown Prince of the Kingdom. However, the AHRC denies this possibility, stating that the Saudi authorities would have "warned the Sri Lankan government" of the impending execution.

For several months, Colombo has fought for the release of Rizana Nafeek, always calling it "close." However, according to the charity, the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is making these statements to calm tempers and reassure those who are fighting for the girl's freedom. In fact, the AHRC said, "the government has not been able to gain any diplomatic ties with the family of the newborn, who alone have the power to grant a pardon to Rizana. Usually, this is achieved by payment or hoping in the compassion of the family" .

 

 

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