Saudis defend a maid’s execution amidst growing international criticism. Rizana Nafeek was executed by beheading despite human rights groups and the Sri Lankan government trying to achieve leniency for her.
Sri Lankan citizen Rizana Nafeek was put to death Wednesday in Dawadmi, a small town about 125 miles west of Riyadh. Sri Lanka has withdrawn its ambassador to Saudi Arabia in response to the maid’s execution, which Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had twice asked Saudi King Abdullah to order stopped. According to CNN, Sri Lanka External Affairs Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama pointed out the reasons the Saudis should not have allowed the maid’s execution:
“We pointed out to Saudi officials that Rizana came to their country as a housemaid. She was not competent or trained to look after a baby, which she had been assigned to her by her employer.”
Rizana Nafeek was convicted of strangling her employers’ son allegedly after she’d been asked to give him a bottle, which led to an argument. The maid claimed the boy choked to death on his milk and that the death was an accident. An official statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency offers no middle ground as the Saudis defend the maid’s execution:
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia categorically rejects any interference in its affairs or in the provisions of its judiciary under any justifications.”
Saudi Arabia officially has agreed to comply with the international Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bars the execution of offenders who were under 18 years old at the time of their crime. The Saudi statement denied allegations by Rizana Nafeek’s advocates that she was a minor at the time of the boy’s death. Sri Lanka’s government said she was only 17 at the time, but the Saudi statement said her official passport showed she was 21 when the boy died:
“As it is universally recognized, the passport is an official document issued by her government. Moreover, the legal regulations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia do not allow the recruitment of minors.”
If I am reading that correctly, does that mean that the maid’s employer was committing a crime if she was indeed a minor? According to the Christian Post, the Saudi government told al Jazeera that the “Kingdom does not allow minors to be brought as workers.” In addition, government officials claimed they tried to avert executing Rizana by speaking with the family of the deceased child and encouraging “clemency or a payment of ‘blood money.'”
As the Saudis defend the maid’s execution by decapitation, we are reminded of how Islamic nations operating under Sharia law treat their women. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Saudia Arabia’s government began electronically tracking all women in case they attempt to leave the country. The good news is that King Abdullah that women would be able to vote for the first time in 2015.