Mohammed Rasooldeen | Arab News
Published — Sunday 13 January 2013
Last update 15 January 2013 5:34 pm
The Kingdom said yesterday that the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan maid who was convicted of killing a baby in her care in 2005, was carried out according to the laws of the land and statements made by foreign organizations were incorrect.
An official statement said the sovereignty of the judiciary and rules and regulations will be maintained in the country for the benefit of citizens and residents and that the Kingdom would not allow any interference in its affairs.
The statement said the government noted with regret various statements made by the United Nations secretary-general, vice president of the European Commission, high representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, spokesman from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other agencies and foreign organizations on the implementation of the court ruling sentencing the housemaid for killing the four-month-old infant.
A Saudi government spokesman said the facts in the statements were incorrect.
Nafeek had only been in the Kingdom a week when the infant's death took place.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the convicted housekeeper was not underage at the time of the incident. According to her official passport, she was 21 years old. It is an internationally accepted fact that information given in the passport is accepted for all legal purposes. Moreover, the legal regulations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia do not allow the recruitment of minors.
Secondly, according to the statement, the maid was tried from the lower courts of justice to the highest court. The verdict for homicide was affirmed by the Supreme Judicial Commission of the Kingdom.
During the trial, Nafeek was given the right to defend herself and lawyers appeared on her behalf, supported by the Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh.
Thirdly, soon after the final verdict was passed, the government referred her case to Reconciliation Committee under the Riyadh governorate to negotiate with the parents of the deceased child either to pardon the convict on sympathetic grounds or to accept an offer of blood money. The efforts for negotiations with the deceased family failed since the aggrieved parents were unwilling to compromise. The Sri Lankan Embassy in the Kingdom also appreciated the efforts made by the Saudi government to obtain a pardon from the parents of the deceased child. Sri Lanka's attorney general and a senior official from the External Affairs Ministry in Colombo who came to Riyadh on a visit, were fully briefed on the entire process and efforts made by the government in Nafeek's case. They were also informed that negotiations with the aggrieved parents had failed.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera said Saturday that his government, in cooperation with Saudi authorities, tried all possible means to save the life of Rizana Nafeek, who was executed in Dawadami on Wednesday.
Dilan Perera was speaking at a condolence meeting in memory of Nafeek at the Dewatagaha Mosque in Colombo.
Sri Lanka denied reports yesterday that its ambassador in the Kingdom was recalled due to the execution of Rizana Nafeek. “We transferred the present Ambassador Ahmed A Jawad to Colombo upon the completion of his tour of duty in the Kingdom,” Karunatilake Amunugama told Arab News from Colombo yesterday. Ambassador Jawad's three-year term ended Dec. 9.
Amunugama said that there is no question of downgrading the embassy since this is a routine transfer. He also said that Jawad will be replaced by another ambassador who will soon be formally appointed.