10/11/2014, 00.00
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Sri Lanka: Call to abolish the death penalty, in memory of Rizana Nafeek

by Melani Manel Perera  
The British High Commissioner in Colombo makes call marking the World Day against the Death Penalty. Rizana was executed in Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of an infant.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The memory of the unjust execution of Rizana Nafeek "should persuade the government of Sri Lanka to vote in favor of the moratorium on the death penalty and join the many nations who have already abolished it". This was the hope expressed by John Rankin, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka (the ambassador in the countries of the Commonwealth - ed), on the occasion of the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, celebrated yesterday.

Although the Penal Code provides for execution, the death sentence has not been passed in any case since 1976. According to Rankin this is not enough. "Later this year, - he said -  the UN General Assembly will vote on the fifth resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The trend is clear: 2012 saw the biggest vote yet in favour of a worldwide moratorium on executions, by 111 states. I hope that the memory of Rizana's death will help persuade the Sri Lankan government to vote in favour of a moratorium and, eventually, join the increasing ranks of countries that have abolished it altogether".

Last year Rizana Nafeek, a young Sri Lankan maid, was executed in Saudi Arabia. The Muslim girl was on death row since 2007 for the alleged murder of an infant. The many requests for clemency from the Sri Lankan government and the international community were to no avail.


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