Fresh bid to secure pardon for Rizana

In a fresh effort to secure a pardon for Rizana Nafeek who has been sentenced to death under Islamic sharia law in Saudi Arabia, a group of Sri Lankan MPs recently visited the victim infant’s grandparents, Foreign Employment Minister Dilan Perera said today.

Rizana was sentenced to death in February, 2005 under Sharia law for allegedly strangling to death this infant while bottle-feeding.

Mr. Perera said that the group of Sri Lankan MPs visited the village of the parents of this infant in the latest effort to secure a pardon.

 “Rizana is in jail. According to the law of that country, a judicial execution is carried out two or three years after it is announced by a court of law. Yet, in the case of Rizana, it has been suspended following a request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Saudi King. That is why she is still in jail without being executed,” he said.

For securing a release for her in terms of the law of that country, he said, the consent of both the parents of the victim should be obtained.

 “We visited the village where the parents live in Saudi Arabia. Yet, we only met the grandparents of the baby,” he said.

The Minister was responding to a question by UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake in this regard.  Mr. Ramanayake asked about steps taken by the Ministry to educate Sri Lankan expatriate workers about Sharia law practised in the Middle-East.

Mr. Perera replied that   staging of protests in front of the Saudi Embassy would not help in any way in securing a pardon for Rizan.

“Sharia law is the divine law for Muslims. If you protest against that law, it will offend their religious sensitivities. Then, the people of that country will be against a pardon,” he said. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)

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