South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The parents of Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek who is accused of murdering a Saudi newborn in 2005 have appealed to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to take suitable action for their daughter’s release since she has been languishing in jail for the past five years.

The appeal for clemency was handed to Bandar Al-Aiban, president of the governmental Human Rights Commission through a proxy in Riyadh.

Rizana Nafeek’s case is in appeal after she was found guilty and sentenced to death. She claims the baby choked during bottle feeding and that her earlier confession is invalid because it was taken while she was in police custody and had no legal representation.

She said language barrier was another factor at that time that makes the confession invalid. The parents maintain that she murdered the infant in vengeance on the 7th day of her job.

A three-member high court in Dawadmi, near Riyadh, handed down the death sentence on June 16, 2007 and on July 15 the judgment was appealed by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) through the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh.

In the letter, the woman’s parents, Mohammed Rafeek and Farina Nazik, insist their daughter is not a murderer.

An HRC source said the organization would not take any action in a pending court case, but that it has been closely monitoring the situation and it would take necessary action following the final verdict — the date of which is  not known and depends on the current proceedings.

The case has been bouncing between courts since it first reached the high court in Riyadh in March 2008. The last hearing of Nafeek’s case took place on Dec. 21.  (Arab News)

Source: The Daily Mirror – 11.06.2010

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