SRI LANKA: An appeal to save the life of the young girl facing death sentence in Saudi Arabia 

Dear friends,


We wish to share with you the following article, A plea for Rizana Nafeek by Paula Fielding published in Arab News on November 5th, 2010.


Please also see the following Urgent Appeals: AHRC-UAU-042-2010AHRC-UAU-041-2010UA-207-2007, UP-097-2007UP-093-2007; Statements STM-003-2009 and STM-258-2008; and Press Release: PL-023-2007

issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission regarding this matter.

Asian Human Rights Commission

Hong Kong



An article from Arab News forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

A plea for Rizana Nafeek

Paula Fielding

I commend and greatly appreciate the sentiments of Abdullateef Al-Mulhim and Safra Rahuman who wrote (Oct. 31) pleading for clemency for the unfortunate Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek whose death sentence was recently endorsed.


They were only expressing the sentiments of the multitudes here in the Kingdom and outside.


This poor girl should not be made to pay for the tragic death of the infant who choked in her care. I endorse all the points made in Al-Mulhim’s article and Rahuman’s letter. They were right in emphasizing the fact that Nafeek was to work as a housemaid and should not have been entrusted with the task of looking after an infant when she was not mature enough or qualified to do that.


As a nurse, I can categorically state that young babies can only safely be cared for by experienced and qualified personnel and to expect a novice like Nafeek to care for a young baby was very wrong and extremely unfair to her. There is no doubt that parents must either care for their children themselves or employ suitably qualified staff to do so or otherwise take responsibility and accept the consequences.


As a housemaid, Nafeek clearly had no choice in accepting this duty and was placed in a very difficult position by her employers and it is indeed hugely unjust that she should then be forced to accept punishment for the extremely unfortunate and tragic outcome.


I greatly sympathize with the parents who have lost a child and may, in their grief, seek to blame and bring judgment on another in this matter. Regardless of exactly how the infant’s death occurred, the facts are clear. Nafeek was a housemaid and employed to perform domestic chores and definitely not qualified to take care of a young baby. Hard facts yet nevertheless true and as difficult as it may be, the parents must accept these and remember that two wrongs do not make a right.


The loss of their baby is tragedy enough. Do we want a double tragedy?


Far better to forgive and be merciful and to know that God will honor and bless this gesture of good will and heal their grief in time.


I also send a heartfelt plea requesting the parents to please consider showing forgiveness and clemency toward Nafeek and allow her to be released and repatriated to her own country with their blessing and that of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Article
Document ID : AHRC-FAT-059-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Death penalty, Migrant workers,