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  • » 06/06/2012, 00.00


    Social activists to Elizabeth II: For Diamond Jubilee, save Rizana Nafeek’s life

    Melani Manel Perera

    The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) sends a letter to the Queen of England, who is celebrating 60 year reign. Since 2007, the Sri Lankan girl is sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of a newborn babay.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - Activists of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are appealing for Queen Elizabeth II of England's intervention to save the life of Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan domestic worker sentenced to death by beheading in Saudi Arabia. Just yesterday, the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth countries concluded the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of the ascent to the throne of the monarch. Since 2005, the young woman has been locked up in Dawami prison in Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of a newborn child of the family for whom she worked. Since 2007 she has been on death row.

    To request the intervention of the English monarch, Basil Fernando, director of policy and programs of AHRC, wrote an official letter in which he explains the young girls' story, and the many initiatives promoted nationally and internationally to demand her release.

    Rizana Nafeek, originally from a poor family in the village of Mutur (the eastern district of Trincomalee), arrived in Saudi Arabia just 17 years old - on a false passport - to work as a maid. The child of her employer died while she was serving. Rizana was then accused of murder and June 16, 2007 the Dawami High Court sentenced her to death by beheading. The trial was a farce, based on a confession signed by her without knowing the content, because it was written in Arabic.

    "Around the world - said the activist - Millions of people have written to the Saudi authorities to ask for her release. Among others, the president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the son of the Queen, Prince Charles. Rizana has spent over five years in prison. We believe that Her Majesty's intervention could secure the release of this unfortunate girl. "



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    See also

    10/01/2013 SAUDI ARABIA- SRI LANKA
    Migration flows to Saudi Arabia must be regulated to avoid another Rizana Nafeek
    Source talks to AsiaNews about illegal labour practices involving migrants to Saudi Arabia from Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. "Exporting" countries fail to protect their migrants. In Rizana Nafeek's case, Sri Lankan authorities failed to provide her with a lawyer during her trial.

    05/12/2012 SRI LANKA - SAUDI ARABIA
    Sri Lanka's Church and government hope for Rizana Nafeek's release
    The Saudi crown prince announces a pardon for death row inmates as a blessing for the health of his ailing king. The young Muslim woman was sentenced to death in 2007 for allegedly killing an infant. A Catholic nun expresses joy at the news, but urges the government to protect better migrant workers.

    11/05/2012 SRI LANKA
    Sentenced to death in S Arabia in 2007, Rizana Nafeek's life hangs by a thread
    Falsely charge of murder, the young woman has been in jail since she was 17. The European Union is closely monitoring the case. For Saudi authorities, the "case is not yet closed." Sri Lanka is trying to get the victim's family to pardon her.

    09/07/2011 SRI LANKA
    Sinhalese and Tamil Muslims together for Rizana Nafeek
    The muslim maid was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for allegedly killing an infant in 2005. Q protest rally is held outside the Saudi Embassy. Activists say that the child’s death was an accident and blame both countries for the situation.

    22/01/2013 SRI LANKA
    Rizana Nafeek’s mother: I do not want money, but protection for all migrants like my daughter
    She has refused any financial help following the execution of the girl, sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia in 2007. Church and civil society in the country are organizing petitions and collecting signatures to demand laws in Sri Lanka to protect migrant workers.

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