SAUDI ARABIA/SRI LANKA: Rizana Nafeek's life is still in great danger
One of the fishermen who returned after to Sri Lanka after being captured by Somali pirates described to the BBC Sinhala Service how the Sri Lankan government had done nothing to assist or save those who were captured. The man reported that he had learned that the Foreign Affairs Ministry officers had said, "Nothing can be done for those who go to other person's lands to pluck coconuts". This is despite the fact that the ministry spokesmen made public statements saying that they were doing everything possible to save the Sri Lankan fishermen captured by Somali Pirates.
This raises serious concerns about the security of Rizana Nafeek. Nearly four months have passed since the reconfirmation of her death sentence. The Sri Lankan government on this occasion also promised to do all it can to save the young girl's life negotiating with the family of deceased child and the government of Saudi Arabia. However, despite their assurances there does not appear to be any progress regarding her release.
It must be remembered that in March 2007 four Sri Lankans were beheaded in Saudi Arabia. The families of Victor Corea, Ranjith Silva, Sanath Pushpakumara and Sangeeth Kuma were made promises in public by the Sri Lankan authorities that appeals would be pursued regarding their death sentences. These promises were made in response to appeals by their families and the public in general. However, while they were led to believe that such actions were being taken, nothing, in fact, was done. Their executions were announced a few days after they were carried out and what was doubly tragic was the fact that one of them had been granted a reprieve from the death sentence and instead given life imprisonment. His execution was the arbitrary decision of the prison authorities.
The delay in the release of Rizana Nafeek is alarming and there no reason for such delay. She has been in jail for over five years and calls for her release have come from all over the world. In Sri Lanka also there had been nationwide demands for her release. However, the interventions by the Sri Lankan government appear to be confined only to public statements.
If a tragedy similar to the one of the four Sri Lankans executed in 2007 is to be avoided it is necessary to call upon the Sri Lankan government to take a greater interest in her release. Where the life of an innocent young woman is concerned paying lip service to the cries of the public will not suffice.
See earlier appeals at:
SAUDI ARABIA: Stop Rizana Nafeek's execution
SAUDI ARABIA/SRI LANKA: Government urged to act rapidly for the release of Rizana Nafeek
WORLD/SRI LANKA: An appeal for continuous intervention with the Saudi Arabian authorities on Rizana Nafeek's case