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Amnesty fights for Rizana

28 October 2010 03:00 am - 74     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Amnesty International today urged the Saudi Arabian King to halt the execution of a young Sri Lankan woman who has lost her appeal against a death sentence for a murder committed when she says she was 17 years old.

Rizana Nafeek, who was arrested in May 2005 on charges of killing an infant in her care, had her death sentence upheld on Monday by Riyadh's Supreme Court.

The case now awaits final ratification by King Abdullah. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already appealed to the King to exercise clemency.

It would be outrageous if Rizana Nafeek were to be executed for this crime, said Malcolm Smart, Director of Middle East and North Africa programme at Amnesty International. It appears that she was herself a child at the time and there are real concerns about the fairness of her trial.

Saudi Arabia has had one of the highest rates of executions in the world, with migrants from poor and developing countries among the main victims.

Rizana Nafeek entered Saudi Arabia in May 2005 to work as a housemaid using a passport that gives her date of birth as February 1982, although she says she was actually born six years later, in February 1988, as her birth certificate indicates.

If she was born in February 1988, she was only 17 at the time of the crime for which she has been sentenced to death.

Rizana Nafeek had no access to lawyers during her pre-trial interrogation, when she says she was assaulted, or at her first trial. She initially confessed to the murder but has since retracted her confession, which she says she was forced to make under duress after being physically assaulted in detention.

The domestic worker's case was transferred back and forth between various courts after she was sentenced to death on 16 June 2007 by a court in Dawadmi until the Supreme Court confirmed her death sentence earlier this week. It has now been referred to King Abdullah and if he ratifies it she will be at imminent risk of execution.

The court which sentenced her reportedly relied on the age given in her passport and did not allow her birth certificate or other evidence of her age to be considered.

As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Saudi Arabia is bound not to execute people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18 years old.

At least 158 people, including 76 foreign nationals, were executed by the Saudi Arabian authorities in 2007, and at least 102 people, including almost 40 foreign nationals, were executed in 2008.

In 2009, at least 69 people are known to have been executed, including 19 foreign nationals. Since the beginning of 2010, at least 21 people have been executed, including five foreign nationals.

Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences in court proceedings that fall far short of international standards for fair trial.
Defendants are rarely allowed formal representation by a lawyer and in many cases they are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them.

Source: Amnesty International USA

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  Comments - 74

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  • Robin Thursday, 28 October 2010 08:59 AM

    Saradial - From which planet did you get this statistics?

    Hassan Bin Humaid Thursday, 28 October 2010 10:34 AM

    Dear All


    srinath.gunaratne Thursday, 28 October 2010 10:19 AM

    Muslims in Sri Lanka must understan that their future lies in a harmonized Sri Lanka not in some Arabic countries. It is high time for Muslim fanatice to understand the real truth before they go in the path og LTTE.

    KD Thursday, 28 October 2010 09:37 AM

    Please let us know which god? Some people believe in 330 million gods.

    Ossan Salam - Doha Thursday, 28 October 2010 09:14 AM

    The amnesty and other organizations which fightes for Rizana's rights must be considered that the real culprit of this whole scenario is the "MAD" interpreter who was not in her mother tongue Tamilian but a Malayali (as it was reported)... due to his misinterpretation of testimony given by this innocent girl to the police were convinced that she is the killer........

    Sicillian Thursday, 28 October 2010 09:10 AM

    First things first; the agent who drafted the false documents should be arrested. Also Saudi has the second highest execution after China for your information.

    Musthafa Thursday, 28 October 2010 09:10 AM

    Before we talk about the sheria law, we must know Sheria lwa is law of God. also Rizana killed the baby intentionally or by mistake. we do not know about it.

    if she had killed intentionally- sheria law is applicable to her, no excuse in verdict.

    but the incident is by mistake- it has to be reconsider for amnesty- but for the amnesty The KIng has nothing to do I belive- The father of the kid must forgive her, the King has a room to provide amnesty.

    God's law in Islam same for prophet's daughter also. so Sri Lankan must learn from Sheria law.

    Saradial Thursday, 28 October 2010 08:40 AM

    Why only Muslim organizations, can't we think as Sri Lankan?

    Faqi Thursday, 28 October 2010 08:12 AM

    TERRENCE B. DE SILVA - I agree with what you say totally. Our guys even condemn others who have taken a constructive stand to help this poor girl. Why don't the Muslim organizations in S/L take an active stand and collectively petition the Saudi monarch for clemency? or collect money to pay the child's parents to grant a reprieve to this poor girl.

    TERRENCE B. DE SILVA Thursday, 28 October 2010 08:00 AM

    Instead of all you intellectual guys just shooting the breeze cannot you guys combine and support our President's request for clemency by doing something more constructive
    by sending a signed petition for clemency or some such more meaningful, such as a delegation of Religious personnel with a special appeal for clemency to the distraught parents of the innocent victim - only an infant.
    Blood money to the victims family is also an acceptable
    commodity in obtaining a pardon from the victims parents & is part and parcel of the Law in Saudi Arabia.

    Mohamed Shafraz Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:55 AM

    Agree! Monarch (inherit the throne by birth) also illegal under Shariha Law

    Mohamed Shafraz Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:53 AM

    Monarch (inherit the throne by birth) also illegal under Shariha Law

    Sue Thursday, 28 October 2010 02:51 PM

    Everything is so cut and dry for you. Its either black or white, no shades of gray at all. Come on Dee, this is real life. If you are a lawyer I can understand; if not have a little more humanity in your heart, it will be good for you.

    Dupatha Friday, 29 October 2010 04:29 AM

    Ameer u rightly said by clearing the misconception there is no sharia law in saudi regime. Sharia does not allow monarchy rule, that has to eradicated, remove the saudi families.

    Faqi Thursday, 28 October 2010 10:29 PM

    monarawila nilame - You said it right. In this age of supreme advancement of science, when the chain of religion is gradually being loosened elsewhere, when humanity has every doubt and skepticism about religion, a relentless effort is mounted to perpetuate the religion-based sheer exploitation of the gullible devotees by brainwashing them. It is a very clever strategy, no doubt— trying torepacke religion in modern science. It is a kind of drug and many people are hooked on it. Under the morbid influence of such a powerful narcotic, people have really started to believe that the 1400 years old scripture do augment the theory of ‘‘Big-Bang’’ or the concept of time dilation is really contained in some verses of those ancient scriptures. What a pity! What a catastrophe! Who will free these nations of fools obsessed with religion?

    Faqi Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:29 PM

    Saradial - The BBC article by Western muslims is the 'sanitized' version of Sharia for the Western media & minds. How many muslim countries practice this sanitized version? -None.

    monarawila nilame Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:13 PM

    mmmm...anyways it is good we don't have god's law here in SL, Kings law is enough.

    monarawila nilame Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:02 PM

    In Islam women has less rights some times non...

    monarawila nilame Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:00 PM

    CREATER'S LAW..!! Oh man we are in the 21st century. SHARIA LAW never allow for a fair trial. I was in Saudi and have witnessed two beheadings. It's time to give up barbaric practices.

    Hameed Thursday, 28 October 2010 03:07 PM

    Arabs inhuman attitude tarnish the image of Islam among other religion. Their animal behaviors vehemently chasing way those who wiling to embrace Islam.

    Dee Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:53 AM

    Lets get things right in the first place, How did a 17 year old manage to leave the country and get employed. Has this happened without her knowledge? (highly unlikely) Has this happened without the knowledge of her parents? (highly unlikely). Or has the FEB manipulated birth certificates? (most unlikely) If she really was a 17 year old , her parents should be blamed in the first place. ( pathetic what our people will do for money, )

    Sue Thursday, 28 October 2010 02:44 PM

    Well Dee. Even VIPs do a lot of bad things for money and not because they are hungry or don't have a place to live. This poor ignorant family in sheer desperation must have sent their child hoping for a better life? Is that such a crime? Unfortunately she was very unlucky. But how many rich, educated people get away away with worse things? So let's not always be in a hurry to condemn the poor.

    banda Thursday, 28 October 2010 01:11 PM

    Well Said by Ameer.... Your comments are 100% true and its 100% correct. I ask one question for those who oppose this... Saudians are raping and giving so much of torture to house maids & kill them sometimes....Even for saudian women they do this... For this there is no shariah law? Why they intend to excute Rizana's poor girl.Where is the saudian law stand on this... May your God only bless her

    Anee Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:50 AM

    This is kind of international matter involving two nations ..
    If I'm correct ...

    Dee Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:34 AM

    If one cannot feed and look after a child, one should not produce children like commodities. Most importantly one should not hire young girls to look after small children. if the law is correct in this case the people who should be penalized are 1] the parents of the dead child for recruiting a person not suitable to look after children , 2] the agency who sent this girl for the jugglery done , 3] the girls parents for sending a underage girl. what a law?

    legaltalk Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:45 AM

    Amnesty Intl does far more for the interests of sri lankans globally than our politicians or embassadors ever will! Sri Lankans just read the bias reports from the Sri Lankan media highlighting the human rights absues in Sri Lanka and immediately obey govt propaganda that Amnesty is a tiger supporter! It's a respected organisation fighting for individual justice and freedom. The world will never develop and live in peace until all humans live freely.

    Ruahdi al Ayad Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:13 AM

    AI please keep out out of this you have a very bad record and can do nothing for anybody

    Mr. Serious Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:13 AM

    Good plot for a movie. but not practical.

    SidathB Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:11 AM

    There was no intention of a merder , to conclude this as a case of a merder committed by the young woman.
    But there could be charges of negligence probably which has to be expected from an immatured and under aged girl. This warrants very much lesser punishment than the death penalty
    There is certainly negligence on the part of persons who employed her . - meaning Job Agency and parents of the infant. whom too should be taken to task than her

    Serious thought is needed on this.
    May she be given a fair justice than this !!!!

    Fahir Ismail Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:09 AM

    I really hate the aggressive Saudi's!!!!!!!!! Most of them think their servant's are their slaves!! Totally inhuman who doesn't even know about human emotions!

    Mallie Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:02 AM

    According to popular definitions in Sri Lanka, AI is a vulgar organization unnecessarily poking their finger to internal matters of sovereign nations. Is this something like that?

    sltk2004 Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:00 AM

    Send our special forces on a rescue mission!

    MagodisThuma Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:59 AM

    People should think about their stupid laws, before entering the country !.

    Don Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:56 AM

    SL shoud consider not sending maids to Soudi .

    Ruwan Ferdinandez Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:46 AM

    AI's hard work? What did they do? Just released a press statement after somebody who cared about the girl made a request. Hopefully Saudi King may release the girl , certainly not because of any so called "charity's" pressure, but the because President has made a plea.

    Saradial Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:25 AM

    Totally agree!

    nadeen Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:41 AM

    Now two people have asked for clemency.( Earlier it was MR ) If the Saudi Arabian government pardons Rizana and sends her back to Sri Lanka , who should get the credit? Will it be like a situation similar to General Fonseka and MR?

    spark Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:40 AM

    The King of Saudi may consider pardoning this girl if Amnesty International is involved. The reason is Amnesty International rings the bell after scrutinizing facts and clearly finds an injustice is taking place. A request by the President MR is highly unlkely to be considered after the recent bogus incident concerning a house maid and as a known houdini character to the international community.

    Ruwan Ferdinandez Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:38 AM

    You have got completely the wrong end of the stick of what most people say. Of course AI is often sitting on the side of what they define as 'victims'.In individual cases, it's often true but in terror gang related cases, they are most often on the wrong side. During all the years of the war in our country, the people who you refer to know what the AI did. But this is an individual case, nothing pro or against a country.

    Ranjit Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:05 AM

    Saudi law has not given a fair trial to this poor girl like many others who were executed by murderous Saudis. Human Rights should also get involved in this case and save the life of this poor under age girl. I sincerely hope that god will save her.

    sam Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:02 AM

    you see how cruel they are......

    buddhi Thursday, 28 October 2010 04:42 AM

    She was only a child.. taking care of a child..two weeks into her job.. surely there must be some mercy...

    Ajith Thursday, 28 October 2010 04:13 AM

    Their hard work might get the credit... Anyway who ever get the credit, pls. save her soon...

    nish Thursday, 28 October 2010 03:39 AM

    Death sentence should be banned for every country, and they should submit her to mother country for legal proceedings!

    Chow Chow Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:50 AM

    What about countries like Japan and the EU. No death penalty and the crime rate is very low. We have to move with time. We are no longer in the stone age.

    Ravi Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:44 AM

    How convenient. When you are with us, you correct. When you are not, you are wrong.

    KD Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:41 AM

    Who cares who gets the credit? As long as Rizana go free.

    faizalsamsu Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:37 AM

    incident happened in another country, so it has to be dealt under their law... Otherwise our Slankans would start doing all illegal things in Saudi if they know they will be sent to Sri Lanka for legal procedures... what kind of justice is that...

    Mushi Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:26 AM

    As Muhammad said, no body is above shariah law, no body can interfere.Yes true.but can the so called kings of arab countries interfere and mishandle this law for their political gains? i.e they apply this law in a soft way to westerners and in hard way to non westerners. Why biased?

    Ravi Thursday, 28 October 2010 03:03 AM

    Hmm, interesting, According to our people, they always work against Sri Lanka.

    Sue Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:17 AM

    In this particular case, it does not matter who gets the credit as long as the girl's life is saved. We of course know who will want to take the credit.

    Ruwan Ferdinandez Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:12 AM

    Saradiel was executed for crimes he committed in 1864, but has the crime stopped in sri Lanka even after 150 years? A better inspection will give you different reasons to your statistics.

    Fayad Thursday, 28 October 2010 07:04 AM

    Mohamed, if Sharia is properly implemented the accused also has to be given a chance to defend him/her self not way the Saudis does
    That's called sharia law

    Saradial Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:48 AM

    Only because of death sentence crime rate is low compare to rest of the world. The statistic says one truth

    2007 Foreigners - 76 Saudis – 82 Total -158
    2008 Foreigners - 40 Saudis - 62 Total -102
    2009 Foreigners - 19 Saudis – 60 Total – 69
    2010 Foreigners – 5 Saudis – 16 Total - 21

    Most of us were shouting that Saudi implements the law against foreigners but statistic shows it’s false and baseless.
    And there is execution has reduced from 2007 to 2010 it shows crime rate has reduced

    Jalba Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:43 AM

    Saudi do not have any rights to implement Shariha law @ all

    Faqi Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:36 AM

    Ruwan Ferdinandez - You comment about AI is pathetic. .Amnesty International has the longest history and name recognition in the whole world, as the most respected non-governmental organization of volunteers who draws attention to human rights abuses in any part of the world. Since its inception in 1961 it has provoked the ire of the former USSR, USA and a host of other countries at various times. So Its not a big deal to them that our small Island too at times condemned them. They are active in over 150 countries today fighting for human rights, against torture, against the death penalty, against wrongful imprisonment and host of other violations & atrocities committed against humans.
    Wherever their is injustice; you can be rest assured that AI will be involved. They do not care about criticism. AI is respected the world over. What you do not realize is a statement by them carries more weight than of MR or anyone else.

    Chaura Rajina Thursday, 28 October 2010 06:35 AM

    Blame must also go to her parents who got her forged documents and packed her off to Saudi when she was just 17,just because they were greedy for money

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