Saudi Arabia beheaded a 17-year old Sri Lankan maid convicted of smothering an infant child.
The death sentence on Rizana Nafeek was carried out by a sword-wielding executioner in Dawadmy, near Riyadh. She was sentenced to death in 2007. She was accused by the mother of the child of killing the baby two years earlier after an argument with her. According to the maid, the child had choked to death on milk during a bottle feed.
The death penalty was appealed by the Sri Lankan government but the government of Saudi Arabia upheld it in 2010. An international campaign for clemency was held which later got ratified by the Interior Ministry.
Britain condemns the beheading of the 17-year old as ‘cruel and inhuman’. A British charity, Safer World for Women, started a global campaign to save the maid and according to them the beheading of the girl is a breach of child rights as capital punishment for minors is viewed as a violation of international children’s rights codes. Joanne Michele, a researcher with the charity organization has tweeted that the Saudi Government knew Nafeek was a child and beheaded her anyway.
Saudi Arabia knew Rizana Nafeek was a child; they beheaded her anyway. humanrights.asia/news/forwarded…*— Joanne Michele (@sabzbrach) January 9, 2013
According to the Asia Human rights Commission the charge against Nafeek was undoubtedly wrong and Saudi Arabian laws ‘fall short of universally accepted norms concerning investigation of crimes’.
The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has condemned the execution as well. According to the Sri Lankan government, the president had appealed twice to stop the execution and grant pardon to Rizana Nafeek. Sri Lanka has recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia after the punishment was executed.
In an earlier case, a Sri Lankan woman had been arrested on suspicion of casting a spell on a kid. The details of which can be read here.