Lanka president seeks king’s intervention

Updated 08 January 2013

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.


Saudis enjoy pandemic jobs boost after public and private sector efforts

Ammar Al-Sabban, a creative director and puppeteer, benefited from the ministry’s platform. (Supplied)
Updated 19 October 2020

Saudis enjoy pandemic jobs boost after public and private sector efforts

  • The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a platform for freelance work in February which aims to diversify work opportunities and increase job security and credibility

JEDDAH: Philanthropic bodies from the public and private sectors have helped Saudis affected by the coronavirus lockdown with part-time and freelance job opportunities.
Initiatives were launched in a nationwide effort to provide economic relief to those who lost their jobs or suffered a salary drop.
Bab Rizq Jameel, part of Community Jameel, has helped more than 15,000 people in the Kingdom find employment this year.
The male employment rate reached 96 percent. The results showed that most new jobs were created in deliveries through electronic platforms during the lockdown.
Tahseen, a program at Community Jameel, supports young people through seasonal and temporary employment opportunities. It has succeeded in achieving the largest number of jobs, helping to create 12,730 opportunities in the past nine months.
Rola Basamad, senior general manager of Bab Rizq Jameel, said: “2020 is undoubtedly an exceptional year, but the global health crisis has confirmed our ability to adapt to the current situation and address many operational challenges and obstacles.”
Naif Al-Rabee, marketing general manager at Bab Rizq Jameel, told Arab News that they carried out a campaign called “fazza.tech” during the lockdown. “Fazza” is Arabic slang for support.
The campaign provided support for two parties: The private sector — which includes delivery and maintenance applications — and people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic or who were relying on part-time work.
“We searched for Saudi drivers to meet the needs of people who were requesting these services in large numbers,” he said.
“We connected the two parties as quickly as possible with additional working hours to fulfill the requests of the two parties all over the Kingdom.”
The “Fazza Tech” initiative brought together 27 private sector companies.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a platform for freelance work in February which aims to diversify work opportunities and increase job security and credibility.
Arab News spoke to Ammar Al-Sabban, a creative director, screenplay writer, voice actor, puppeteer and freelancer since 2008 who benefited from the ministry’s platform.
“The issue was we never had any entity or legal representation or status in the Kingdom. So we either worked without any legal structure, and when I got that legal structure I had to actually apply to have my own establishment,” he said.
He said you need to pay certain fees when creating a company, and provide a location and complete specific registrations. Freelancing does not require these procedures.
“Since the ministry started this initiative, I immediately applied. When it first began, it had a limited number of professions but soon they added more and once I found my professions I registered.
“The process was fairly easy and I received my permits within a day or two. You can submit up to five different services to registered as a freelancer. It made my life so much easier.”