07/14/2011, 00.00
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Sri Lanka Catholic Bishops' Conference: Forgive and release Rizana from death row

by Melani Manel Perera
The bishops appeal to parents of infant who died, for whose alleged murder the Muslim maid is on death row, after a sham trial. Rizana Nafeek has been in prison since 2005. She was only 17 years old.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - "In expressing our regret to the parents for the death of their child, we ask them to consider the circumstances and to intercede for the release of Rizana." This is the appeal of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka (Cbcsl) for the life of Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan Muslim maid sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. The girl is in a Saudi prison since 2005 for the alleged murder of a newborn child of a couple for whom she worked as maid.

"In line with our Christian faith, we believe that life is always the most sacred thing, because it is the supreme gift of God - says Msgr. Norbert M. Andradi and Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, respectively General Secretary and president of Cbcsl - and must be protected from its beginning until its natural end. " In addition, "we want to ask the parents of the child and the Saudi authorities to think Rizana parents: have mercy, Spare her life."

Rizana Nakeef was 17 years old when she arrived in Saudi Arabia, on a false passport, to work as a maid. The child of her employer died while she was working for them. Rizana was then accused of murder and sentenced to death with a mock trial, based on a signed confession the content of which she does not know because it was written in another language.

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of executions in the world. At the end of 2009, Amnesty International reported the presence of at least 141 people on death row in Saudi Arabia, including 104 foreign nationals. Migrant workers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are the main victims.

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See also
Saudi Arabia: Indonesian migrant risks beheading
Sri Lanka's Church and government hope for Rizana Nafeek's release
Sri Lankan Muslim teenager sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. Appeal of Catholics
Jakarta pays "blood money" to save domestic worker sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia
Sri Lanka, Muslims and Catholics together to save the life of Rizana Nafeek


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