Lankan envoy clears up ‘misunderstandings’

Updated 30 December 2015
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Lankan envoy clears up ‘misunderstandings’

JEDDAH: In a statement to clear any misunderstanding that the Sri Lankan mission in the Kingdom was not involved in seeking clemency for the Sri Lankan maid, who was recently spared from being sentenced to death for adultery, Azmi Thassim, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Kingdom, said that the Lankan embassy in Riyadh played a major role in the appeal.
“I’m very sorry if someone is not appreciating the Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh and the Sri Lankan government due to the tremendous support and efforts they put to seek clemency for the victim of the adultery case,” he said.
Thassim slammed the negativity and racist comments on social media platforms, describing them as “malicious.” He said that it is important that situations as such need to be handled in a responsible manner. “I praise the media who played a very responsible role in this instance and the majority who supported this and safeguarded the identity and dignity of the victims.”
Saudi authorities reduced the 45-year-old Sri Lankan maid's death sentence to a three-year jail term after an appeal, Colombo's foreign ministry confirmed.
The ambassador expressed his respect, gratitude and appreciation to the embassy officials in Riyadh who undertook the case with responsibility and assisted from the time they heard about the case till the death penalty was lifted.
He added that all the procedures were completed by the embassy officials, despite it being tough and costly, before he arrived in Riyadh as ambassador.
“I also thank the Sri Lankan government for having done a great job in providing assistance and guidance to the embassy whenever they needed it, especially to retain lawyers.”
Thassim lauded the Saudi judiciary and authorities for their considerate judgment given to the Sri Lankan maid. “We are very happy that the judges received the case well and unanimously decided to do away with the stoning to death,” he said. “There were several hearings held before the first judgment was given rather than simply implementing a verdict. The case was re-opened after several observations of the appeal and the victims were given an opportunity to explain and express themselves — to which they confessed to being under severe pressure at the time.”
Explaining the measures taken by the Sri Lankan mission in the Kingdom to avoid such errors in the future, Thassim requested the community and all the media who are focusing on this particular incident and the judgment, to take heed. “We must always take precautions and not wait till something major happens and start blaming and pointing fingers. Instead, we must educate the people as much as possible about the laws of a country.”
He pointed out that it is the responsibility of a government and the civil society to educate people about the seriousness of not knowing the rules and regulations and walking into an unknown territory.


Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

Riyadh hosts the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum in April with its focus on investment opportunities in the urban heritage. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

  • Forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage
  • Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage hosts the forum each year in a different part of the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi capital will host the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum (NUHF) next April to coincide with World Heritage Day, with its focus on investment opportunities in urban heritage.

“The four-day National Built Heritage Forum will be launched in Riyadh on April 15,” said Majed Alshadeed, a spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), on Thursday, adding that the forum will culminate on April 18, World Heritage Day. World Heritage Day is celebrated every year on April 18 with the aim of preserving the human heritage and recognizing the efforts of the relevant organizations in the field.

Organized by SCTH under the umbrella of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Program, the 6th forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage.

The forum will look at developing business models in the management and development of — and investment in — urban heritage sites, as well as the development of crafts and handicrafts.

The heritage forum is organized each year by the SCTH in a different province in collaboration with the relevant governorates, municipalities and local universities, following the recommendations of the first International Conference for Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries, which was held in Riyadh in 2010.

The first session of the NUHF was organized in Makkah province, the second in the Eastern Province, the third in Madinah province, the fourth in Asir province and the fifth in Al-Qassim province.

Next year’s forum seeks to invest the expertise, knowledge and experience that the SCTH has gained and transfer it to the four economic sectors working in urban heritage. These sectors are construction, restoration and contracting, site operation, human resources development, and services and industries related to urban heritage.

The forum will include the distribution of prizes to the projects winning the Prince Sultan bin Salman Urban Heritage Awards, exhibitions, scientific sessions, workshops and business meetings with Saudi and international experts and consultants to discuss investment opportunities in urban heritage. There will also be a specialized expo for companies and institutions working in the sectors of the economics of architectural heritage, restoration and engineering consultancy.