Sri Lanka [28th June 2011] A demonstrations was held outside the Saudi embassy in Colombo, urging that a Sri Lankan maid in Saudi Arabia be released from prison where a death sentence is hanging over her.
She was convicted of murdering a baby in her care but insists she is innocent and her parents say she was in any case legally a child when the alleged killing took place.
Charles Haviland reporting from Colombo said that about 100 Sri Lankans – including women’s’ rights and Muslim campaigners and politicians – staged a protest at the embassy, urging that the young maid, Rizana Nafeek, be released from her Saudi jail and spared the executioner’s sword.
They stressed that Sri Lankan women should be stopped from migrating to the Kingdom for domestic work.
There is increased anxiety in Sri Lanka about Rizana Nafeek’s case because an Indonesian maid, also convicted of a killing in Saudi Arabia, was recently executed.
But Sri Lanka’s minister of foreign employment, Dilan Perera, says Nafeek’s death sentence is in fact currently suspended and that Colombo is still trying to save her life through a pardon.
“This incident needs to be handled with caution and should not be exploited for political gain, “Minister Perera said.The minister said that opposition parliamentarians are trying to exploit this issue while the government is continuing its efforts to obtain pardon for Rizana