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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2904

Delay in issuing visas to Sri Lankan team to enter Saudi a puzzle

Colombo, 16 July, ( Saudi Arabian Embassy in Sri Lanka has so far not issued the necessary visa's for the Sri Lankan team, including the Deputy Foreign Minister, to enter Saudi Arabia and make representations on behalf of the 19-year -old Sri Lankan House maid, Rizana Nafeek, sentenced to beheading. The visa applications were made a week ago and the delay is yet to be explained. The father and mother of the condemned teenage housemaid is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia to appeal in person for clemency from Mr & Mrs Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al Otaibi, the father and mother of the deceased 4-month-old boy who was alleged to have been killed by the Sri Lanka Housemaid.

The Sri Lankan team due to leave for Saudi Arabia is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila. Others in the team are Ibrahim Sahib Ansar, director general of Middle East and North African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moulavi M.B.M. Zarook, representative of the Jamiyathul Ulema (Council of Islamic Theologians), Rizana's father, Mohammed Nafeek and mother Razeena.

The Saudi Embassy in Colombo has informed the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry that the Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry has not cleared the visa applications for the Embassy to issue the necessary visas.

Sri Lanka's Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila told the Asian Tribune that up to date the required visas to Saudi Arabia have not been issued for his team, including the father and mother of the teenage housemaid.

He said that the parents of Rizana's father, Mohammed Nafeek and mother Razeena are expected to travel with him to make a personal appeal for clemency for their daughter from the Mr & Mrs Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al Otaibi.

A three-member bench of the Dawadmi High Court found Rizana guilty of murder on June 16 of a four-month old infant in a Saudi home, 390 kms away from the capital.

In a media release issued by the Sri Lankan Embassy on Thursday said the mission had signed an agreement with Riyadh-based Kateb Fahad Al-Shammari, Attorneys at Law, on Wednesday to retain their services to file the judicial appeal.

Hussein Bhaila further said that according to facsimile message he received from the Sri Lanka Embassy in Saudia Arabia that Chief Judge of the Dawadmi High Court has accepted the appeal made by the attorney at laws retained by the Sri Lanka Embassy. Expressing optimism about saving Rizana's life, the Deputy Minister said it will be a humanitarian appeal on behalf of Rizana's parents and the country.

"We respect the laws of the host country and accordingly we have been following the legal procedures to save this girl from the gallows."

In the meantime the Deputy Minister said that initial deposit of SR 50,000 for attorneys in Saudi Arabia has been already paid by the Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong.

In the meantime the Hong Kong based AHRC announced in a press release that the representative of the legal firm of Kateb Fahad Al-Shammari, Attorneys at Law has traveled to Dawadimi Jailhouse and met with Rizana Nafeek and escorted her to a Notary Public in order to issue a power of attorney in the name of the legal firm Kateb Fahad Al-Shammari, Attorneys at Law. The power of attorney has now been obtained.

Furthermore, the AHRC said in the press release the legal firm has submitted an appeal to court as required by the regulations. It further added that the the legal firm will submit additional justification for the appeal once it receives the 'Deed of Judgement' which has not yet been handed over to them by the Jail Administration. The Jail Administration has promised to pass this judgment after they receive approval from the Ministry of the Interior. The legal firm is pursuing the case.

The press release issued by the AHRC pointed out that by the filing these papers it has been possible to meet the deadline of the appeal which is today (July 16). It further pointed out that this gives time for pursuit of the appeal in court through the legal firm as well as to make further appeals to the family of the deceased baby and to His Royal Highness the King, in Saudi Arabia.

- Asian Tribune -

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Chances of saving Saudi maid slim; Government to fly parents to Saudi

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