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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2901

Father of the convicted Muslim teenage girl to appeal to parents of the dead baby to save her from being beheaded

By Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 16 July ( Mohamed Sultan Nafeek the father of the 19 year old Sri Lankan girl, who is sentenced to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia said in Colombo that he was scheduled to fly on June 16 to the desert kingdom to appeal to the parents of the baby boy who died while the convicted teenager was bottle feeding him.

"I will ask them to pardon my daughter for the sake of Allah, it was not her intention to kill," Sultan Nafeek said.

Under Saudi Arabian law the victim’s family is entitled to pardon an accused of a crime and spare the Life from being beheaded.

But when the case was taken up in Dawadimi, about 250 miles West of Riyadh the Saudi employers of Rizana Nafeek refused to pardon the poor Sri Lankan Muslim girl and she was sentenced to be beheaded under Saudi Arabian law.

When the alleged crime occurred, Rizana was only a minor of 17 years old and a crooked Sri Lankan job agent had sent her to Saudi Arabia by distorting her age as minors cannot be sent to foreign countries for employment under Sri Lanka law.

She did not get any opportunity to tell the courts what her real age is and under international law a minor cannot be put to death under any kind of circumstances.

Sources close to Nafeek’s family said a Sri lankan Muslim Minister also will be flying with Rizana’s father carrying a special letter from Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed to the King of Saudi Arabia to intervene in the matter in granting clemency for the girl.

Until the last moment the girl’s father had not received a visa to enter Saudi Arabia but he was with high hopes he would be granted one.

Mohamed Sultan Nafeek, a poor wood cutter from the impoverished Eastern town of Muttur in Sri Lanka, allowed her to go and work in Saudi Arabia as he was unable to build a decent house for his family and they still live in a mud hut without any basic amenities. "We live in abject poverty, we only live in a mud hut which has no proper toilet or a well to draw water. This is what made Rizana to go to Saudi," he said while waiting for his visa in Colombo.

Rizana was employed as a house maid. But in addition to her household chores, babysitting, for which she has had no instructions or training , was also added to her list of duties.

The unfortunate incident occurred while she was bottle feeding the baby.

The Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission said the death was an accident of choking milk because the 17 year old girl’s inexperience. She had also faced a trial without any legal representation being provided.

She had been asked to sign a confession by the Saudi Police, written in Arabic, a language she could not read, admitting to the death of the infant.

Now she has recanted her confession, and the Sri Lanka Embassy said it had been obtained under duress.

Her siblings 15, 12, and 10 naturally terrified by the news their loving sister will be beheaded are praying to Allah that she be saved and having high hopes she would accompany home with their father, Muslim sources said.

Millions of people in Sri Lanka are crossing their fingers thinking the poor family’s prayers will be answered.

If everything fails, like any other common criminal she will be taken to a market square and beheaded as it had happened before umpteenth number of times at least during many hundreds of years in the desert kingdom.

- Asian Tribune -

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