06/06/2012, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Social activists to Elizabeth II: For Diamond Jubilee, save Rizana Nafeek’s life

by 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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