Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sri Lankan housemaid and Syrian drugs trafficker this year's first victims of beheading in Saudi Arabia

Demo in 2011 in Colombo for Rizana
The Saudi Interior ministry has confirmed that Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek, 23, who was convicted of killing a baby in her care whe she was 17, was executed on Wednesday in Dawadmi, a city located some 380 km away from the capital.  Many requests by the Sri Lankan government and Amnesty International, among others, to  save her life, have thus been proven to have been in vain.
Nafeek flew to the desert kingdom at 17 on a forged passport that said she was 6 years older than she was, without any training or knowledge of Arabic, to work as a maid for a wealthy Saudi family. But Nafeek's dream went horribly wrong within days of arriving at Dawadamissa, a town about 250 miles from Riyadh, in 2005. Her employers accused her of murdering their 4-month-old infant after the baby accidentally choked while being bottle-fed by her. In June 2007, Nafeek was found guilty and sentenced to death by beheading — a conviction that rights groups say was based on a confession made under duress and the forged passport that changed her status to that of an adult. In 2010, the sentence was upheld by Saudi Arabia's highest court.
The Saudi authorities on Tuesday also beheaded a Syrian convicted of trafficking a large amount of narcotic pills, the interior ministry said, in the first execution in the kingdom this year.Mohammed Darwish was arrested “as he was trafficking a large amount of narcotic pills into the kingdom,” the ministry said in a statement carried by official news agency SPA.He was beheaded in Al Jawf province, in the kingdom’s north. Last year, the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom beheaded 76 people, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

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