This video is called SRI LANKA: Death sentence on Rizana Nafeek confirmed (English).
By Sampath Perera in Sri Lanka:
Top Saudi court confirms death sentence on Sri Lankan worker
3 November 2010
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court in Riyadh has rejected an appeal against the death sentence imposed on Rizana Nafeek, a young Sri Lankan woman who was working in the country as a domestic servant. The ruling was handed down in September but Nafeek’s lawyers were only informed of the decision last month.
Like thousands of Sri Lankans, Nafeek took a job in Saudi Arabia because she was desperate to earn money for herself and her family. Only 17 at the time, the recruitment agency encouraged her to falsify her age in order to fulfill the requirements for employment. Just weeks later, she was charged with murdering the four-month-old son of the family who employed her as a maid.
From the outset, Nafeek’s trial was a travesty of justice. The Dawadami High Court, a three-member panel of judges, ignored her age. She was found guilty on July 16, 2007 and sentenced to death by beheading. The verdict was based on a confession extracted by police. She had been assaulted by police and forced to sign documents written in Arabic that she could not comprehend. She received no legal assistance or competent translation in court.
With the assistance of the Asian Human Rights Commission, a legal appeal was launched. Having been provided with a proficient translator, Nafeek repudiated her confession and denied all charges. She informed the court that the baby’s death had been an accident. She had been feeding the infant with a milk bottle at the time but the baby choked and she was unable to save him. She had attempted to get help.
The Supreme Court, which heard the appeal, ignored the new evidence and refused to overturn the verdict of premeditated murder. The ruling was handed down on September 25, but Nafeek’s lawyers only found about it on October 19. The Asian Human Rights Commission learnt of the verdict from the Arab News, which made the decision public on October 25.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has appealed to Saudi King for “clemency” but only as a face-saving gesture after refusing to assist the young woman. When Nafeek’s death sentence was imposed in 2007, the Sri Lankan government refused to pay the legal costs of her appeal, saying that would amount to violating the sovereignty of another country.
In reality, the Sri Lankan government was concerned about taking any action that might offend the Saudi Arabian regime and disrupt the trade in human labour to the Middle East. Remittances from overseas workers to Sri Lanka are expected to exceed $US4 billion this year, up from $3.4 billion in 2009 and close to half the country’s export earnings. Of the total, 85 percent comes from unskilled workers—mainly domestic servants such as Nafeek—working in Middle East countries.
Although appeals have been made to the Saudi king to halt Nafeek’s execution, he has not responded. Her plight illustrates the widespread intimidation of foreign workers who provide the Saudi elite with cheap labour: here.
Indonesian maid abuse ignored because migrants ‘worth billions’: here.
Migrant domestic workers in Britain are almost 20 times more likely to suffer from “slavery” if they are employed by foreign diplomats, campaigners warned today: here.
Labour must speak out against discriminatory pay for foreign seafarers: here.