SAUDI ARABIA/SRI LANKA: The imminent danger of the execution of Rizana Nafeek 

According to the news received from Saudi Arabia Rizana Nafeek, who has been the Dawadami Prison since 2005 may be executed at any moment. This was revealed to the BBC Sinhala Service by Dr. Kifaya Iftekhar, who is based in Saudi Arabia and who has been looking after the interests of Rizana for several years now. Dr. Iftekhar also said that the Sri Lankan government has been informed by the Saudi authorities of the possibility of her impending execution.

For several months now the Sri Lankan government has been reporting that moves are underway for Rizana’s release and that this may happen at any time. However, it appears that these announcements were made only to appease the strong expressions of concern by the Sri Lankan and international community’s who are calling for her release. The government has not been able to conduct diplomatic negotiations with the family on the deceased infant that has the power to grant pardon. Such pardon is usually granted either on the payment of blood money or without such payment by the generosity of the family.

Dr. Iftekhar told the BBC Sinhala Service that there is still room for assisting Rizana Nafeek and saving her life.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has campaigned for Rizana’s release since 2007 when her case was brought to the notice of the world. A vast movement arose within Sri Lanka to demand her release and there was also massive support for her release from the human rights community and particularly from women’s movements. Many signature campaigns were conducted on her behalf and websites opened by various concerned groups to rally support for her.

The Asian Human Rights Commission once again calls upon everyone to intervene and write to the Saudi authorities urging them to grant Rizana pardon.

We once again call upon the president of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan authorities to take effective action to conduct negotiations and also to renew diplomatic efforts to save her.

For further information on Rizana’s case please see the AHRC dossier here.