Sri Lanka Roils Over Saudi Beheading of Maid

Sri Lankan gov't accused of not doing enough to save Rizana Nafeek

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2013 9:12 AM CST

(Newser) – Saudi Arabia is coming under heavy criticism for beheading a Sri Lankan maid yesterday, after she was found guilty for killing a baby under her care in 2005 when she was 17 years old, reports al-Jazeera. Human rights groups say Rizana Nafeek was denied access to lawyers during her initial interrogation and first trial, and that giving the death penalty to a minor goes against international conventions. Nafeek allegedly killed the 4-month-old boy after an argument with his mother, although the Nafeek maintained that the child choked on milk during a bottle feeding.

“In executing Rizana Nafeek, Saudi authorities demonstrated callous disregard for basic humanity as well as Saudi Arabia’s international legal obligations,” said an official at Human Rights Watch. Saudi Arabia beheaded as many as 76 people last year, as judges there are free to interpret the country's strict Wahhabi school of Islam as they see fit, with little regard to written laws or precedent, according to the Daily Beast. Prior beheadings of maids from Indonesia and the Philippines have caused outcries in those countries.

Mohammad Razeena, left, and Mohammad Sultan Nafeek, parents of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia, look on in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, July 16, 2007.   (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Sri Lankan Muslims shout slogans during a protest against Saudi Arabia in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, July 8, 2011.   (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
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