SAUDI ARABIA/SRI LANKA: The appeal to the Saudi King to pardon Rizana Nafeek is still pending 

While many rumours circulate about the suspension of the death sentence of Rizana Nafeek, the young Sri Lankan maid condemned to death for the alleged murder of an infant under her care in Saudi Arabia, there has been no official change in her case.

President Rajapaksa has officially requested the Saudi King for a pardon for Rizana and the Sri Lankan government has announced that it is making all diplomatic efforts for the Saudi King and the family of the deceased child to grant her clemency. However Rajapaksa’s appeal to King Abdullah was sent only a few days before the King fell ill and had to be taken to the US for immediate medical treatment.

King Abdullah underwent his first surgery soon after he landed in the US on Nov. 22, while the second was conducted on Dec. 2. The Royal Court has said that the surgeries were “completely successful”. The King is still in New York where he currently undergoes physiotherapy. Hence, the King’s approval to the appeal for a pardon of Rizana is still pending. No decision can be taken by someone second in command, unless he seeks the advice or approval of King.

The Sri Lankan government has earlier stated that Minister Rizad Badurdeen would visit to the family of the deceased child in Riyadh requesting them to pardon Rizana, but this plan has not materialised. It appears to be yet another rumour started by the Sri Lankan government to make the media believe there has been progress in her case, while no evidence is found to prove any change. Neither has a reply to Rajapaksa’s appeal been received.

Consequently, Rizana’s case has reached a very critical stage. A continuing pressure on King Abdullah and the family of the deceased child to grant her clemency as well as the Sri Lankan government to push for a reply is crucial for her case not to be forgotten in the absence of His Royal Highness, King Abdulah.

On December 10, a campaign under the caption of ‘Save Rizana’, organized by Janasansadaya and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) took place in Galle, where more than 1500 people took to the streets. In Kandy, Nawalapitiya and Kundasale, Sri Lankans of all faiths came together to sign petitions for the pardoning of Rizana Nafeek, which have been sent to King Abdullah.

For the benefit of those who have assisted in the appeal and those who are interested in learning more about the case we provide below links to all the Statements, Urgent Appeals and Forwarded Articles published over the past years.

Statements by the AHRC:

Urgent Appeals by the AHRC:

Forwarded articles:

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-265-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Campaigns : Save Rizana Nafeek
Issues : Death penalty,