Attorney General Palitha Fernando will leave for Saudi Arabia soon in a fresh initiative to secure a full pardon for housemaid Rizana Nafeek, who has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, officials said yesterday.
Rizana was sentenced to death by a Saudi Court on the charge of having strangled an infant to death while bottle-feeding it. However, the carrying out of the death sentence was put off on a request made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Saudi king.
She went to Saudi Arabia on May 4, 2005 at the age of 17 for employment as a housemaid. She was sentenced to death on June 16, 2007.
The External Affairs Ministry had decided to send the AG to look into the possibility of securing a full pardon for her.
When asked for a comment, Mr. Fernando said he would be leaving for Saudi Arabia, but the dates were yet to be fixed.
“It is being arranged by the External Affairs Ministry. I will be going. But, the dates have not been finalized yet,” he said.
According to Sharia law of that country, the consent of both the parents of the victim is needed for a full pardon. In addition what’s known as blood money determined by them has to be paid to the parents. (Kelum Bandara)