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* Hopes for Sri Lankan housemaid in Saudi death row
Fri, Jan 4, 2013, 12:35 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 04, Colombo: The Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Sri Lanka has said that a Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to death in the Kingdom would be pardoned soon and able to return home.

The Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Abdulaziz bin Abdul-rahman Al Jammaz, has said that according to information received by him, Rizana Nafeek presently housed in death row in Saudi Arabia would be pardoned and could return to the island.

The pardon is in consideration of a request made by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Azeez, and also due to legal considerations, Sri Lanka Justice Ministry said in a statement released to local media.

The Saudi Ambassador has revealed this when he met Sri Lanka's Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem at the Ministry yesterday.

The Ambassador had also said that he was aware that the President and the government had striven hard to obtain a pardon for the housemaid, and stressed that, on the instructions of the Saudi King, the governor of Riyadh, Salman bin Abdulaziz had begun discussions with the relatives of the child who had died at the hands of Rizana.

Rizana Nafeek was sentenced to death for allegedly murdering the son of her Saudi employer, a four month old infant on May 22, 2005, while she was bottle-feeding the infant. Rizana claims the baby accidentally choked while the parents claim she committed premeditated murder.

Nafeek, who was 17 years old at the time, had gained employment in Riyadh as a domestic worker through an employment agency that changed her age on the official documents to make it appear that she was 23 years old in order to be eligible for employment.

The case has received wide international attention and several human rights organizations have asked the Saudi authorities to pardon the housemaid who was underage at the time.

** Related Story :: External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka requests Saudi counterpart not to carry out house maid\'s execution

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