RIYADH, 20 June 2007 — A Sri Lankan housemaid, who murdered a four-month-old infant two years ago, has been sentenced to death by a court in Dawadmi, 242 km from Riyadh.
Delivering the verdict, High Court Judge Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al-Rosaimi said the murder had been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
“In addition to the witnesses and circumstantial evidence, the accused also admitted that she killed her sponsor’s child and reconstructed the murder scene in court,” said the judge. “She told the court how she throttled the infant when she was feeding it.”
The medical report revealed the maid’s fingerprints on the infant’s neck.
Rizana Nasik, now 19, from Muttur, 300 km from the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, committed the crime in February 2005 when she was 17. She murdered the infant when she was asked to feed the baby by her sponsor’s wife.
According to sources at the Sri Lankan mission in the Kingdom, she modified her age in the passport in order to come to the Kingdom and work. In Sri Lanka, every citizen should be at least 18 to qualify for local or overseas employment while the Kingdom stipulates a minimum age of 23 years for housemaids coming into the Kingdom.
“The convict does not meet either Sri Lankan or Saudi employment specifications,” the sources said.
The sources blamed employment agents in Colombo, who send under-aged girls abroad. “The girls are not fit for the job, and baby-sitting needs a lot of patience,” the sources added, pointing out that a 17-year-old girl in Sri Lanka should have been in a secondary school since free education is offered by the state.
However, an embassy official said that the mission would lodge a formal appeal against the judgment.
In 2005, Badrunissa, a Sri Lankan housemaid, was executed in Riyadh for murdering her sponsor’s wife.
Meanwhile, two Sri Lankans including a woman and her Indian husband were sentenced to death last week by a court in Jeddah for committing armed robbery and killing an old woman in her home in November 2005.
The guilty are Haleema Nissa Cader, K.M.S. Bandaranaike and Naushad, the husband of Haleema. They broke into a house in Jeddah with five other Sri Lankans who were also sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with 500 lashes each. The others who received jail sentences included Singarayar Wimaladas, Abdul Basheer Haniffa, Ameer Jabbar, Rizmiya Haque and Mari Kalan Rose.
Speaking to Arab News, Masihudeen Inamullah, Sri Lankan consul general in Jeddah, said all the Sri Lankans were workers who had run away from their sponsors.
Another gang of eight thieves, including four Sri Lankans, were arrested for armed robbery in Jeddah. “They are in police custody and security officials are conducting the investigations,” the consul general added.
Some 550,000 Sri Lankans live in the Kingdom and around 80 percent are domestic helpers and drivers. Last year over 168,000 Sri Lankan workers came to the Middle East. The largest number of them (60,000) are in the Kingdom. Most of them are employed as housemaids.