Unpredictable Fate of Sri Lankan Maid Rizana Nafeek
The sudden beheading of the Indonesian housemaid Ruyati binti Sapubi, (54 yrs.), on 18 June in Saudi Arabia, without even informing Indonesian Government has caused lot of anxiety over the fate of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek who is languishing in the death row for years.
Suddenly many Sri Lankans have begun to show interest on the uncertain plight of the innocent girl from Muthur, in the Trincomalee district.
Asian Tribune pointed out that when her case was taken up in the Dawdami High Court before a three judge’s panel, Rizana Nafeek retracted her confession by her statement translated into Arabic, dated 3rd February 2007, and informed the court that her original confession of admitting to the killing of the child had been obtained by the Police under duress.
The statement which was translated into Arabic language dated 3rd February 2007, and submitted to the High Court that the earlier original confession admitting to the killing of the child had been obtained by the Police under threat and intimidation.
Sources in Saudi Arabia told Asian Tribune that the Arabic translation of Rizana Nafeek statement was the true and correct translation of her Tamil statement dated 30 January 2007. The same is also given below with the English language translation for the convenience of the Asian Tribune readers.
Sources said that though the Arabic Language translation was correct textually, but its interpretation of the same at the Dawdami High Court was highly questionable.
Rizana Nafeek in her statement has said that her actual Date of Birth is 02.02.1988, that means when she went to Saudi Arabia on 01 April 2005, ("I arrived at Saudi Arabia on 2005.04.01 as my first visit. I was employed at the residence of my Saudi Madam for a period of 1 ½ months."), she was just 17 years and two months only. She further said, "The sub agent called Bajurdeen deceitfully changed my date of birth as 02.02.1982 and issued me a passport whereas my actual date of birth is 02.02.1988."
The sources told Asian Tribune that these are simply statement made by an accuse in the case who retracted the earlier statement of accepting the killing of the 4 month old baby boy.
The same source said Dawdami High Court was not prepared to accept that statement as they were not properly “interpreted”.
When asked for the clarification of the usage of the word “interpreted”, Asian Tribune was told that there were no corroborative evidences placed before the High Court to substantiate those matters which were highlighted in the statement made by Rizana Nafeek.
Accordingly, what was expected was that the Government of Sri Lanka to take action, when it came to know that a young Housemaid has been recruited based on a forged birth certificate, subsequently based on that forged birth certificate, the passport was issued and sent to Saudi Arabia for employment when she was just 17 years old.
There should have been some evidences in the form of documents to substantiate her statement. She must have provided acceptable documents to the Dawdami High Court as she had ample of time to do so between her arrest on 25 May 2005 and on the submission of the new statement on 03 February 2007.
In fact the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment should have intervened and arranged for those documents by taking legal actions against all those she has pointed out as people who were involved in bringing her to this sorry plight.
Asian Tribune also learnt that Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia has to date failed to contact through the the Foreign Ministry, the Attorney General’s Department and also failed to obtain advice on the subject of providing legal assistance to Rizana Nafeek.
Even up to now, no action has been taken on the recruitment agent who was responsible for recruiting the teenager and sending her to Saudi Arabia. It is still not clear why the alleged recruitment agent who was responsible for recruiting and sending Rizana Nafeek was spared without any action by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment.
Furthermore, it was revealed that when Rizana Nafeek left for Saudi Arabia, she paid Rs. 11,000 as premium for insuring her against any employment hazards while she remains in Saudi Arabia.
When Asian Tribune contacted and asked the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, as to why they did not come forward to retain a lawyer right from the inception when she was arrested and produced before the Dawdami High Court and tried for homicide.
When this question was raised, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment told that the Bureau has spent money for the air ticket and other incidental expenses of her mother, father and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit Saudi Arabia to meet Rizana Nafeek after she was sentenced to death by the Dawdami High Court.
When Dawdami High Court allowed Rizana Nafeek to appeal against their verdict, it was Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong that came forward to pay for the lawyer retained by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Saudi Arabia?
Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment said that AHRC voluntarily came forward to make the necessary arrangements of retaining a Lawyer, and the Bureau agreed to accept the offer.
There are few more unanswered questions pending from Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Bureau.
They are -
Can you tell us the total amount spent on this journey to Saudi Arabia by Rizana’s parents and the Deputy Foreign Minister, incurred by Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment?
Do you know that Rizana Nafeek is now suffering from loss of memory and she is said to be insane. What action has been taken about her serious mental condition called medically Schizophrenia which causes constant hallucination, and suppose to result in her being induced unconsciously to commit suicide?
While awaiting for the response from the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, the SMS news item that was recently delivered to mobile phone owners that “Media Reports says death sentence imposed on Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek has been confirmed by the Saudi Court: She will be executed by beheading – local media,” has suddenly created uncertainties about the fate of Rizana Nafeek.
As far as Asian Tribune is concerned that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia has no clue about Rizana Nafeek’s fate.
But Asian Tribune learns that as pressure mounts and suddenly Embassy has started calling some Sri Lankan businessmen living in Saudi Arabia and requesting them how it is possible to safe this Sri Lankan house maid.
Earlier, this was the same Embassy, through External Affairs Ministry, advised Minister Rishad Badiyudeen not to get involved in the Razina Nafeek’s case, when he wrote that he wanted to meet the tribal leaders and urge them to talk with the father and mother of the deceased 4 month old baby for a settlement and pardon and blood money.
Later Asian Tribune learnt that the Head of Sri Lanka Mission has briefed the Minister Rishad Badiyudeen when he went to meet Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the Governor of the Riyadh Province on 17 May, not to take up with the Riyadh Governor Prince Salman issues connected with the young Rizana Nafeek.
We live in a funny world.
English translation of the Rizana Nafeek statement made on 03 February 2007:
Al Dhawadhimi Prisons,
I, Rizana Nafeeq, - who is presently confined in Al Dhawadhimi Prisons on the allegation of homicide - state as follows:
I have already made a first statement to the officials of High Commission of Sri Lanka on the above mentioned allegation.
I am making this statement instead of the statement given to the officials of High Commission of Sri Lanka on this allegation. I am making this statement as I am in good mental condition.
My address in Sri Lanka is – M.S.Nafeeq, Shafi Nagar, Muttur.
My actual age is 19 years old.
My date of birth is 02.02.1988.
The sub agent called Bajurdeen deceitfully changed my date of birth as 02.02.1982 and issued me a passport whereas my actual date of birth is 02.02.1988.
I arrived at Saudi Arabia on 2005.04.01 as my first visit. I was employed at the residence of my Saudi Madam for a period of 1 ½ months. There was no problem to narrate of. I was assigned to do cooking, washing and looking after a four months infant.
As soon as I was brought to this house, I was employed to look after this infant. I had been amenable and maintained good rapport with the house people.
The inadvertent incident, I could not recollect the date of the incident, happened at about 12.30 p.m on one Sunday. The house people whosoever was not at home at that time. In addition to the four months old infant, there were male and female children as well. Usually, I am the one who used to feed milk to that four month-old infant. The day of the incident too, I fed the infant with milk.
When I was feeding the infant, I noticed that the milk was oozing through the mouth and nose of the infant. I stroke the throat of the infant gently. As the infant was seen having its eyelids closed, I thought that it was snoozing.
The madam came home at about 1.30 p.m. and after having seen the infant, she assaulted me with slippers and hands and took the infant away. Blood oozed from my nose. Thereafter police came and took me into their custody. I was assaulted at the police station too. They assaulted me with belt and coerced me for a statement stating that I had strangled the infant. They intimidated me that I would have been killed in the event I was adamant not to give a statement to the effect that I strangled the infant and electrocuted, I would be killed.
In these circumstances, I under duress placed my signature on the written paper they gave to me. They took me to another place and asked a question, As I was virtually in a state with loss of memory and in fear and frightened mood, I had happened to tell them that I strangled the infant. In the name of Allah, I swear and aver that I never strangled the infant.
I hereby place my signature after having read this statement.
- Asian Tribune -