SRI LANKA: Young girl facing death sentence by beheading seeks urgent govt. intervention
(Hong Kong, July 4, 2007) The government of Sri Lanka must clearly state its position regarding providing legal assistance to young Nasik who is facing death sentence by beheading in Saudi Arabia said Basil Fernando, the Executive Director of the Asian Human Rights Commission.
He said, The government is fully aware that there are only a few days left for filing an appeal but this will require retaining Saudi legal advisors.
Mr. Fernando said, that the Sri Lankan embassy in Saudi has already requested funds from the Sri Lankan government for the appeal. However, the government is still to make a clear decision. He further said that a letter was sent to Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regarding this matter.
Subsequently the AHRC had been contacted by parties who have come forward to offer assistance in this matter if the government is not willing to take responsibility. However, since the victim can be contacted only through the Sri Lankan embassy or and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these persons are unable to help if the government does not indicate what its decision on the issue is.
Mr. Fernando also added that the AHRC will do its utmost to assist in this case if the government indicates the manner in which any assistance needs to be channelled for this purpose.
Finally Mr. Fernando said he regretted the execution of four Sri Lankans earlier this year who did not receive proper legal assistance at any stage of their case or even when trying to seek a pardon.
As such an unfortunate outcome should be prevented at all costs; Mr. Fernando on behalf of the AHRC urged the government to act quickly on this matter and spare the life a young 17-year-old Sri Lankan girl.