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* AHRC seeks inquiry into the verdict and the execution of Sri Lankan housemaid
Wed, Jan 16, 2013, 01:34 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 16, Colombo: The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has written to the UN High Commissioner and the President of Sri Lanka requesting an inquiry into the verdict and the execution of Rizana Nafeek who was executed in Saudi Arabia on January 9.

AHRC says that it is reported that the only evidence relied upon by the court against the beheaded housemaid is a confession statement, allegedly made by Rizana.

"If that is the case, we urge Your Excellency to request the Government of Saudi Arabia to inquire the circumstances under which Rizana made this statement," AHRC writes.

Pointing out that Government of Saudi Arabia now claims that Rizana was 21 years of age based on the passport, despite the contrary evidence placed before the court, the AHRC recalls that the letters to the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia from the Sri Lankan President and UN HR Commissioner has indicated that Rizana was a minor at the time of the alleged crime.

The AHRC in its letter says it has confirmed that Rizana spoke only Tamil and the inquiry conducted by the Saudi police was in Arabic.

The AHRC also has information that the letter allegedly signed by Rizana is written in Arabic, a language that Rizana does not speak, read or write. In these circumstances, Rizana could not have made the confession. There is a report that the translator provided to Rizana, at some stage of her trial or investigation, is a person from Karnataka, India, who speaks only Kannada and not Tamil. Furthermore, at trial Rizana did not receive any legal assistance.

"The global outrage in this case is justified since Rizana's execution is nothing less than murder. Under these circumstances, it would not suffice only to condemn Rizana's execution. What is required is a thorough investigation in this case," the AHRC writes.

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