The Saudi King withheld the death sentence imposed on Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek following a request made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Foreign Employment Promotion Minister Dilan Perera told Parliament yesterday.

However, the Minister said even the Saudi King could not grant a full pardon on Rizana who is sentenced to death under the Sharia law in Saudi Arabia.

She can be pardoned only by the parents of the child,” he said.However, the Minister said blood money had to be paid in such an eventuality, and the government was ready to do that.Rizana Nafeek was convicted by a Saudi Court for strangling a baby to death while bottle-feeding.NP MP Ranjan Ramanayake, in his speech in parliament took up the matter.Also, he requested the government to have second thoughts when sending housemaids to the countries where they were abused.

Source: The Daily Mirror – 08.12.2010