RIYADH — Saudi Arabia executed a Sri Lankan maid on Wednesday after she was convicted of murdering her employer’s baby, drawing sharp condemnation from Colombo, which had repeatedly sought a stay of execution.
Human rights groups too called for clemency, noting that Rizana Nafeek had been just 17 at the time of the offense.
Rizana was found guilty of killing the infant she was entrusted to look after in the absence of her Saudi employers at home, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
She was executed in the Dawadmi province near the capital Riyadh.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse deplored the execution while lawmakers observed a minute’s silence during Wednesday’s sessions as parliament was told of the execution.
Colombo had been trying to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia to plead for mercy. Rajapakse had made another appeal for the maid’s life last week.
A rights group said that Rizana was only 17 when the child died in 2005.
The maid was sentenced to death on June 16, 2007, by a three-member bench at the Dawadmi High Court. 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.
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.
Another maid, an Ethiopian, is currently being investigated for murdering her sponsor and attempting to kill her sponsor’s nine-year-old son. The incident happened in Jeddah’s Heraa Street.
While an Indonesian maid too faces the death sentence for killing a child.
The maid is in custody and the child’s father Khalid Al-Shehri, a Yanbu resident, said he would not waive his right to justice in any circumstance. – Agencies