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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Colombo denies negotiations with Saudi government on Rizana Nafeek’s case

RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN
Tuesday 23 October 2012
Last Update 23 October 2012 2:16 am
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo refuted newspapers reports in Colombo about a meeting between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, in Kuwait last week on the release of death sentenced housemaid Rizana Nafeek.
The news report stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa met on Oct. 17 with Prince Salman on the sidelines of the Asia Corporate Dialogue Summit held in Kuwait City. During the meeting, the Saudi government indicated that the attorney general of Sri Lanka should come to Saudi Arabia to discuss the legal issues connected with the release of the condemned Sri Lanka housemaid Rizana Nafeek, who is on death row since July 2007 and in custody since May 2005.
A senior official from the ministry told Arab News from Colombo yesterday that there had been no such meeting between President Rajapaksa and Prince Salman during the summit concluded in Kuwait City last week.
However, he added that the island’s Minister of External Affairs G. Lakshman Peiris met with Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, deputy minister of foreign affairs, on the sidelines of the conference. He said the discussions were centered on bilateral matters only.
Sources from the Saudi foreign ministry said that Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah was the only official representative of the Kingdom at the conference in Kuwait.
Nafeek was sentenced to death on June 16, 2007, by a three-member bench at the Dawadmi High Court for killing the baby she was entrusted to look after in the absence of her Saudi employers at home. The accused maintained that the newborn choked during bottle-feeding, and that she tried to seek help.
In August last year, the Royal Court forwarded the case for an amicable settlement with the Saudi parents of the child she was convicted of killing.
Legal experts in the Kingdom say Nafeek can only be saved if pardoned by the victim’s family. The pardon can be offered with or without a request for blood money.
During an appeal made on behalf of the accused, the judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court in Riyadh on Sept. 25, 2010. Subsequently, the case was forwarded to the Royal Court for necessary action.
In September 2010, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa also requested Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to pardon Nafeek.
During an earlier meeting between Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad and then Deputy Gov. Prince Sattam, the prince confirmed that the case was being taken up by the reconciliation committee of the governorate, whose members were currently negotiating with the parents of the deceased child.
The members of the reconciliation committee usually approach the plaintiff to negotiate a pardon for the accused. Such negotiations are either settled with the payment of blood money or a graceful pardon from the aggrieved parties.
There is no set period for the committee to take a decision; negotiations may take weeks or sometimes several months to settle a case, sources said.
Source:  http://www.arabnews.com/colombo-denies-negotiations-saudi-government-rizana-nafeek%E2%80%99s-case last visited by APHR : 23/10/2012 19:35

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Singapore: 34 death-row cases may come under review

They were facing certain death from the hangman's noose, but may now be given a lifeline after proposed changes to the mandatory death penalty were introduced in Parliament on Monday.
If the new law is passed, the cases against 34 prisoners on death row here can be reviewed, even if they have exhausted all avenues of appeal.
Under proposed changes in the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill and the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2012, these prisoners will be given an opportunity to introduce new evidence to prove that they satisfy the conditions for a life sentence instead.
In Singapore, a life sentence lasts for a prisoner's natural life, but he can apply for a review of his sentence after he has served 20 years in jail.
Among the 34 on death row, 28 were convicted of drug trafficking, and 6 of murder.
A stay of execution was put in place after the review of the mandatory death penalty started in July last year.
There were originally 35 death row prisoners, but one of them, Pathip Selvan Sugumaran, escaped the gallows after the Court of Appeal, in August, set aside his conviction of murdering his girlfriend 4 years ago.
The 26-year-old was found guilty of a lesser charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Since the proposed changes were announced in Parliament by Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean and Law Minister K. Shanmugam in July, briefing sessions have been held in Changi Prison for death row prisoners.
All 34 can be considered for resentencing under transitional provisions that will be enacted.
Under those provisions, those convicted of murder will be given a chance to show that their cases fall under Sections 300b, c, or d of the Penal Code, which will no longer attract a mandatory death penalty.
Those convicted of drug trafficking will also get a chance to prove that they were only low-level couriers, and also to cooperate with the Central Narcotics Bureau if they have not done so in the past.
The proposed changes to the mandatory death penalty laws will give judges the discretion to impose a life sentence when these conditions are met.
Most of the 34 will be represented by the same lawyers who defended them earlier.
Some prisoners, though, have not yet found lawyers to represent them and appeals have been sent out to the legal community for help.
Source: AsiaOne, October 18, 2012
APHR Source: Death Penalty News:   http://deathpenaltynews.blogspot.com/2012/10/singapore-34-death-row-cases-may-come.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DeathPenaltyNews+%28Death+Penalty+News%29
Last Access: 21/Oct/2012 7:17 am

Friday, October 19, 2012

Release of Rizana Nafeek: Sri Lankan Attorney General and Saudi Government to jointly unravel legal implications

By K.T.Rajasingham
Kuwait, 19 October, (Asiantribune.com):
Salman_Mahinda.jpg
Prince Salman & President Rajapaksa
Saudi Arabian Government has indicated that the Attorney General of Sri Lanka should come to Saudi Arabia to discuss the legal issues connected with the release of the condemned Sri Lanka House Maid Rizana Nafeek, who is in the ‘Dead Row’ since July 2007 and in custody since May 2005. In September when Asian Tribune contacted President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he told that, “I have already send in an appeal for clemency and waiting for response from the Saudi Government. He also told Asian Tribune that he is working on the release of the Sri Lankan house maid, who has been condemned for murdering a 4 month old Saudi infant boy.
On 17th October President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the Asia Corporate Dialogue Summit held in the Kuwait City.
Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is presently the Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque, Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, as well as the most senior member of the House of Saud, next to the King of Saudi Arabia.
 Sri Lanka President came up with the subject of Housemaid Rizana Nafeek of Muthur, who has been condemned in Saudi Arabia.
Prince Salman, the Crown Prince who is expected to succeed the King of Saudi Arabia was earlier the Governor of Riyadh and he handled the files connected with the Sri Lankan House Maid Rizana Nafeek .
Sri Lankan President took a personal interest in the case of Rizana Nafeek.
In connection with the issue regarding the release of Rizana Nafeek, Saudi side has told the Sri Lankan delegation that met them, to send in Sri Lanka’s Attorney General to Saudi Arabia for further talks regarding the legal issues connected with the release of House Maid.
Earlier in May 21, 2011 when Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen met Prince Salman in his capacity as the Governor of Riyadh. In the meeting Asian Tribune learnt that Prince Salman has assured to Sri Lankan Minister, that Saudi Arabia will bear the entire amount connected with the blood money payment to the parents of the deceased 4 month old Saudi boy, in case they agreed to pardon the Sri Lankan Housemaid.
[Removed the content unrelated to Rizana Nafeek's issue-Prison notes]
Source: - Asian Tribune - http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2012/10/19/release-rizana-nafeek-sri-lankan-attorney-general-and-saudi-government-jointly-unrav Last viewed 19/10/2012 8.44 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Opposition MP asks Sri Lankan President to seek clemency for death row housemaid at ACD summit Oct 17, Colombo: Ranjan Ramanayake, a parliamentarian of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP), has requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa in writing to take up the issue of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek, who is on death row in Saudi Arabia. Ramanayake has requested the President to take the matter for discussion during the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) currently underway in Kuwait City. He has noted that the President should try and request for clemency for Nafeek. Nafeek was convicted by a Saudi court for allegedly strangulating to death an infant while the victim's parents were away. Nafeek was 16 years of age at the time of the incident and her defence had stated that the infant had died due to suffocation while being fed. Migrant Rights, a rights group representing the plight of migrant workers in Middle East, has also urged President Rajapaksa to address the plight of Nafeek, during his meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia. The group has urged both the President and External Affairs Minister to confront the pressing issue while in the audience of those officials capable of instituting critical change.

Opposition MP asks Sri Lankan President to seek clemency for death row housemaid at ACD summit
Wed, Oct 17, 2012, 07:43 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Oct 17, Colombo: Ranjan Ramanayake, a parliamentarian of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP), has requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa in writing to take up the issue of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek, who is on death row in Saudi Arabia.
Ramanayake has requested the President to take the matter for discussion during the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) currently underway in Kuwait City.
He has noted that the President should try and request for clemency for Nafeek.
Nafeek was convicted by a Saudi court for allegedly strangulating to death an infant while the victim's parents were away. Nafeek was 16 years of age at the time of the incident and her defence had stated that the infant had died due to suffocation while being fed.
Migrant Rights, a rights group representing the plight of migrant workers in Middle East, has also urged President Rajapaksa to address the plight of Nafeek, during his meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia.
The group has urged both the President and External Affairs Minister to confront the pressing issue while in the audience of those officials capable of instituting critical change.
Source:  Wed, Oct 17, 2012, 07:43 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
URL:  http://www.colombopage.com/archive_12A/Oct17_1350483203JR.php

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Stop the execution of Rizana Nafeek

(Hong Kong, October 17, 2012) The AHRC wishes to forward this update from Change.org on the situation of Rizana Nafeek.

Subject: Update about "Stop the Execution of Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia"

Dear supporters of Rizana Nafeek,

We now have over 3,500 signatures on this petition, but Rizana remains
on death row in Saudi Arabia.

The next few days could be critical.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is set to participate in the first Asian Corporation Dialogue Summit in Kuwait on the 16 and 17 of October.

Rajapaksa will meet with the Emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, as well as the king of Saudi Arabia. We urge President Rajapaksa to use this opportunity to address the plight of Rizana Nafeek, as well as the broader issues facing migrants in the Gulf.

According to Migrant Rights, the President’s office has indicated an intention to broach the case of Rizana:
http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org/children/save-rizana-nafeek/rizana-updates/3142-asia-summit-rizana.html
Now is the time to put pressure on the Sri Lankan president and the Saudi authorities again!

Thank you so much for all your support so far. If you possibly can do so, please share this petition far and wide over the next few days - Rizana's life could depend on it.

Very kindest regards,
Chris
Founder - Safe World for Women.


Please refer to our earlier press release where you will find the link to the petition: SAUDI ARABIA/SRI LANKA: Stop the Execution of Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia