Adultery case: Sri Lankan woman to serve jail term

Updated 24 December 2015

Adultery case: Sri Lankan woman to serve jail term

COLOMBO: A Saudi court has commuted the death sentence passed on a Sri Lankan maid convicted of adultery, the government in Colombo said.
“We have succeeded in getting the death sentence overturned. Our concern was to make sure that the original sentence was not carried out,” said Harsha de Silva, deputy foreign minister.
“The government of Sri Lanka wishes to acknowledge and appreciate the good offices of the Saudi authorities.
“The sympathy, understanding and the concern expressed, and assistance extended by many other parties is also noted and deeply appreciated.”
De Silva said the woman would now serve a “short jail sentence” but details on the exact amount of time that she would have to remain behind bars were not yet clear.
The 45-year-old married mother of two, who has not been named, was convicted of adultery in August after her arrest in April last year.
The following is a statement posted on the website of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry.
The appeal against the verdict of the Sri Lankan domestic worker arrested on the charges of adultery and sentenced to death by the Al-Dwadmi Court in Saudi Arabia was taken up Dec. 22.
The government of Sri Lanka is happy to announce that the appeal for clemency on the sentence was successful and the Sri Lankan national will now have to serve a reduced sentence and serve a term in prison.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Ministry of Foreign Employment and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment undertook the responsibility to safeguard the Sri Lankan national and through the Sri Lanka Mission in Saudi Arabia, extended every assistance to provide legal counsel and consular assistance in order to assist the appeal process.
The government of Sri Lanka wishes to acknowledge and appreciate the good offices of Saudi authorities.
The sympathy, the understanding and the concern expressed, and assistance extended by many other parties is also noted and deeply appreciated.


UN: Possible to eradicate malaria, but probably not soon

Updated 28 min 27 sec ago

UN: Possible to eradicate malaria, but probably not soon

  • Dr. Pedro Alonso, the UN health agency’s global malaria director, said WHO is “unequivocally in favor” of eradication
  • An eradication campaign was first attempted in 1955 before being abandoned more than a dozen years later

LONDON: The World Health Organization says it’s theoretically possible to wipe out malaria, but probably not with the flawed vaccine and other control methods being used at the moment.
Dr. Pedro Alonso, the UN health agency’s global malaria director, said WHO is “unequivocally in favor” of eradication, but that major questions about its feasibility remain. In a press briefing on Thursday, Alonso acknowledged that “with the tools we have today, it is most unlikely eradication will be achieved.”
Alonso was presenting the results of a WHO-commissioned report evaluating if eradicating malaria should be pursued. He said the experts concluded lingering uncertainties meant they were unable to formulate a clear strategy and thus, couldn’t propose a definitive timeline or cost estimate for eradication.
WHO has long grappled with the idea of erasing malaria from the planet. An eradication campaign was first attempted in 1955 before being abandoned more than a dozen years later. For decades, health officials were chastened from even discussing eradication — until the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation threw its considerable resources behind the idea.
Smallpox is the only human disease to ever have been eradicated. In 1988, WHO and partners began a global campaign that aimed to wipe out polio by 2000. Despite numerous effective vaccines and billions of invested dollars, efforts have stalled in recent years and officials have repeatedly missed eradication targets.
Although several African countries began immunizing children against malaria in national programs this year, the shot only protects about one third of children who get it. The parasitic disease kills about 435,000 people every year, mostly children in Africa.
“An effective vaccine is something we desperately need if we’re ever going to get malaria under control and we just don’t have it,” said Alister Lister, dean of biological sciences at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Lister also raised concerns about whether malaria programs would be able to raise the billions needed given other competing eradication campaigns, like those for polio, guinea worm and lymphatic filariasis.
“Should we really be pushing for malaria or should we concentrate on getting some of those other diseases out of the way first?” he asked.
Other experts agreed that eradicating malaria in the coming years seems aspirational.
“It’s a long game and there will be many bumps on the road,” said Sian Clarke, co-director of the malaria center at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Still, Clarke said that eradication might only be achieved if there is a sense of urgency, given how malaria spreads; the parasitic disease is transmitted to people by mosquitoes.
“The longer it takes, the more opportunity there is for the parasite to evolve,” she said. “There will be a lot of pressure on the parasite to evolve a mechanism of survival, so this is something that if it’s to be done, should be done relatively quickly.”