World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Reconciliation Committee to Take Up Case of Sri Lankan Maid

Aug 23, 2011 00:14

Riyadh: The Royal Court has forwarded the case of Sri Lankan death row housemaid Rizana Nafeek for an amicable settlement with the Saudi parents of the child she was convicted of killing, reliable sources told Arab News on Monday.

Arab News learned that the case had been referred from the Royal Court to the Riyadh governorate through the Ministry of Interior during the first week of the holy month of Ramadan.

On June 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.

During an appeal made on behalf of the accused, the judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court in Riyadh on Sept. 25, last year. Subsequently, the case was forwarded to the Royal Court for necessary action.

In September last year, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa had also requested Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to pardon Nafeek.

Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad met Riyadh Acting Gov. Prince Sattam last week for an update on the progress of the case. During discussions, the prince confirmed that the case was now being taken up by the Reconciliation Committee (RC) of the governorate, whose members were currently negotiating with the parents of the deceased child.

The RC 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. “There is no set period for the RC to take a decision; negotiations may take weeks or sometimes several months to settle a case,” sources said.

Last week, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera was on a day’s visit to Riyadh to explore opportunities for a negotiated pardon for Nafeek. The minister was accompanied by Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Chairman Kingsley Ranawake.

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador in Riyadh Ibrahim Sahib Ansar, who is currently the country’s envoy in Cairo, also came to Riyadh to hold discussions with the visiting minister on matters concerning Nafeek.

Ansar had earlier met the tribal leader of the victim’s family with former Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein Bhaila.

According to Perera, who has been entrusted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to coordinate the case with the Saudi government, “his government is ready to pay the requested blood money to save the girl.”

“The government is so concerned, that the whole country is focused on this case, and we are all interested in saving this poor maid, who came to the Kingdom in search of greener pastures,” he said.

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.

Arab News learned that the visiting delegation held discussions with authorities to see if a pardon could be worked out for Nafeek with the concerned parents.


Article by Mohammed Rasooldeen from The Arab News via the Asian Human Rights Commission.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Covid-19: Vaccines Donated Next Year, ‘Too Late For Those Who Are Dying Today’

Millions more COVID vaccines need to be donated now to save lives and help the UN health agency reach the key global target of having 70 per cent of all national populations vaccinated, by the middle of 2022... More>>

UN News: Landmark G7 Agreement Pledges 870 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses, Half By End-2021

A senior UN official welcomed on Sunday, the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations’ commitment to immediately share at least 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, supporting global access and helping to end the acute phase of the pandemic... More>>

OECD: G20 GDP Returns To Pre-pandemic Level In The First Quarter Of 2021, But With Large Differences Across Countries

Gross domestic product (GDP) of the G20 area returned to pre-pandemic level in the first quarter of 2021, growing by 0.8% compared with the fourth quarter of 2020. However, this figure conceals large differences across countries... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

COP26: Progress Made As May-June UN Climate Change Session Closes

The May-June Climate Change Session, the first to have been held virtually to prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held at the end of the year in Glasgow, Scotland, closed today... More>>

UNFCCC: Halving Emissions By 2030 Is New Normal - Race To Zero Anniversary
Over 4,500 non-state actors from across the global economy have committed to halving emissions by 2030, joining the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign... More>>

UN: Tackling Biodiversity & Climate Crises Together And Their Combined Social Impacts

Unprecedented changes in climate and biodiversity, driven by human activities, have combined and increasingly threaten nature, human lives, livelihoods and well-being around the world... More>>