Colombo denies negotiations with Saudi government on Rizana Nafeek’s case

Updated 23 October 2012
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Colombo denies negotiations with Saudi government on Rizana Nafeek’s case

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo refuted newspapers reports in Colombo about a meeting between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, in Kuwait last week on the release of death sentenced housemaid Rizana Nafeek.
The news report stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa met on Oct. 17 with Prince Salman on the sidelines of the Asia Corporate Dialogue Summit held in Kuwait City. During the meeting, the Saudi government indicated that the attorney general of Sri Lanka should come to Saudi Arabia to discuss the legal issues connected with the release of the condemned Sri Lanka housemaid Rizana Nafeek, who is on death row since July 2007 and in custody since May 2005.
A senior official from the ministry told Arab News from Colombo yesterday that there had been no such meeting between President Rajapaksa and Prince Salman during the summit concluded in Kuwait City last week.
However, he added that the island’s Minister of External Affairs G. Lakshman Peiris met with Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, deputy minister of foreign affairs, on the sidelines of the conference. He said the discussions were centered on bilateral matters only.
Sources from the Saudi foreign ministry said that Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah was the only official representative of the Kingdom at the conference in Kuwait.
Nafeek was sentenced to death on June 16, 2007, by a three-member bench at the Dawadmi High Court for killing the baby she was entrusted to look after in the absence of her Saudi employers at home. The accused maintained that the newborn choked during bottle-feeding, and that she tried to seek help.
In August last year, the Royal Court forwarded the case for an amicable settlement with the Saudi parents of the child she was convicted of killing.
Legal experts in the Kingdom say Nafeek can only be saved if pardoned by the victim’s family. The pardon can be offered with or without a request for blood money.
During an appeal made on behalf of the accused, the judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court in Riyadh on Sept. 25, 2010. Subsequently, the case was forwarded to the Royal Court for necessary action.
In September 2010, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa also requested Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to pardon Nafeek.
During an earlier meeting between Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad and then Deputy Gov. Prince Sattam, the prince confirmed that the case was being taken up by the reconciliation committee of the governorate, whose members were currently negotiating with the parents of the deceased child.
The members of the reconciliation committee usually approach the plaintiff to negotiate a pardon for the accused. Such negotiations are either settled with the payment of blood money or a graceful pardon from the aggrieved parties.
There is no set period for the committee to take a decision; negotiations may take weeks or sometimes several months to settle a case, sources said.


First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

Updated 27 June 2019
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First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.