Petition Update

Safe World for Women

Apr 10, 2011 — MOTHERS PARDON PENDING


Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) Additional General Manger L K Ruhunage yesterday said the Bureau has not given up its diplomatic effort to save Rizana Nafeek, the 20-year-old Sri Lankan housemaid facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

Rizana can only be released if she was granted a pardon by the child’s parents, said SLFEB sources. The father of the child has reportedly expressed his willingness to pardon Rizana. The mother’s decision is still pending, they said.

Rizana was sentenced to death by Saudi Arabian High Courts for allegedly killing her employer’s four month old son. She claimed that the child had died due to accidental choking.

Following Rizana’s sentence, the Bureau appealed to the parents of the child to grant a pardon to the housemaid who was 16 years old when she committed her alleged crime in February 2005, said Ruhunage. Meanwhile, the execution of Rizana’s sentence to be carried out last year was suspended by the King of Saudi Arabia following an appeal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rizana’s family in Muttur are hopeful that their daughter will be pardoned and returned to the country. “We are fasting and praying for her return,” Rizana’s mother Razeena told the media. She is the eldest of a family of four.

Meanwhile, sources at the Bureau said they sent a team to meet Rizana’s employer and his wife in Riyadh to seek a pardon for Rizana. The employer, the father of the child has reportedly agreed to pardon Rizana

The mother’s decision is still pending, the sources said.

Ruhunage said, the Bureau is prepared to offer compensation to the child’s family for her release.