Lanka president seeks king’s intervention

Updated 08 January 2013
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Lanka president seeks king’s intervention

RIYADH: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made a personal appeal to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah seeking royal intervention to suspend the execution of housemaid Rizana Nafeek until a settlement for clemency is reached with the aggrieved parents of the deceased infant.
The president’s media spokesman Mohan Samaranayake told Arab News from Colombo yesterday that the appeal was handed to Saudi Ambassador in Colombo Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Jammaz on Sunday.
On Jun. 16, 2007, Nafeek was sentenced to death 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.
However, the Supreme Judicial Commission affirmed the judgment in September 2010.
On Oct. 25 of the same year, President Rajapaksa made an appeal to the king to grant clemency to Nafeek on humanitarian grounds.
Subsequently, the Royal Court forwarded the case of Nafeek to be amicably resolved with the Saudi parents of the child she was convicted of killing. Nafeek’s case was adopted by the Reconciliation Committee (RC) of the Riyadh governorate, whose members have been negotiating with the parents of the deceased child.
In his letter, President Rajapaksa, while recalling his previous communication addressed to the king, said that the maid was only 17 years old at the time of the incident. “I understand that the maid is soon to be executed since the aggrieved parents are not in favor of a pardon,” the president said, appealing to the king to use his good offices to defer the execution until an amicable settlement is reached between the aggrieved parents and the reconciliation committee.
The president has further said that Nafeek’s execution could raise an outcry among the members of the local and international communities and aggravate the situation. Therefore, Rajapaksa said that he would like to seek the king’s personal intervention.
The reconciliation committee members 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.
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.
According to top-level sources from the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo, the Saudi ambassador sent the appeal to the royal court through the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.
In her statement to the court, Nafeek had claimed that at the time of her arrival in Saudi Arabia, she was only 17 years old and a recruitment agent had falsified her documents, seizing her passport by over-stating her true age by 6 years.
The Colombo High Court sentenced the two agents, who allegedly faked the original travel documents of Nafeek, to two years in jail. The judge also asked the two accused to pay 120,000 rupees each to the parents of Nafeek as a penalty for their offense.
Nafeek arrived in Riyadh on May 4, 2005 to work as a housemaid in the household of her sponsor Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al Otaibi and was later transferred by her sponsor to work in his family household in Dawadami, about 380 km west of Riyadh.
The incident in which the infant died occurred around 12.30 p.m. on May 22, 2005 while Nafeek was bottle-feeding the infant.


Two Holy Mosques program receives international award

The Two Holy Mosques program has received the Sharjah International Cultural Heritage award for its achievements. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Two Holy Mosques program receives international award

  • The state adopted the program presented by the SCTH four years ago
  • King Salman’s initiative to care for cultural heritage is one of the outputs presented by the SCTH

RIYADH: The Two Holy Mosques program to care for the Kingdom’s cultural heritage has received the Sharjah International Cultural Heritage award for its achievements.
It was described as an unprecedented national program sponsoring projects and efforts related to all aspects of national heritage.
King Salman’s initiative to care for cultural heritage is one of the outputs presented by the SCTH, sponsored and financed by the country, and it is being carried out as part of the important initiatives of Saudi Vision 2030 with more than SR5 billion ($1.3 billion) allocated in the current phase. The initiative includes 10 courses, each under implementation consisting of a number of main projects that amount to more than 330 in total.
The state adopted the program presented by the SCTH four years ago and financed within the National Transformation Program with more than SR4 billion ($1 billion).
The program includes the establishment of 18 museums in the Kingdom, 80 heritage sites and opening them to visitors, the restoration of 18 villages and traditional towns to visitors.