UN chief dismayed by Saudi beheading of Sri Lanka maid

UNITED NATIONS Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:14am IST

Demonstrators hold up an image of Rizana Nafeek as they shout slogans during a protest against her execution, in Colombo January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Demonstrators hold up an image of Rizana Nafeek as they shout slogans during a protest against her execution, in Colombo January 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed dismay on Friday at the execution of a Sri Lankan housemaid in Saudi Arabia over the death of an infant in her care.

Rizana Nafeek was beheaded in the town of Dawadmy, near the capital Riyadh, on Wednesday morning after being sentenced to death in 2007. She was accused by her Saudi employer of killing his infant daughter while she was bottle-feeding in 2005.

The secretary-general "is concerned about reports of irregularities in her detention and trial, as well as the increase in the use of capital punishment in Saudi Arabia," Ban's press office said in a statement.

Ban insisted that all men and women in Saudi Arabia - regardless of their migration status or nationality - be treated under international human rights law, which includes the right to a fair trial.

"Currently, in Saudi Arabia, women do not have equal access to the courts or an equal opportunity to obtain justice. The Secretary-General is concerned that this is a situation which is even more precarious for women migrant workers given their foreign status," the statement said.

The Sri Lankan government appealed the death penalty but the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the sentence in 2010. Sri Lanka said on Thursday it had recalled its envoy to Saudi Arabia over the execution.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said the infant was strangled after a dispute between the maid and the baby's mother.

Saudi households are highly dependent on housemaids from African and South Asian countries. There have been reported cases of domestic abuse in which families mistreat their maids, who have then attacked the children of their employers.

Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, is an absolute monarchy that follows the strict Wahhabi school of Islam. Judges base decisions on their own interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, rather than on a written legal code or on precedent. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Mining Reform

Mining Reform

Foreign firms with India units could mine, sell coal - source.  Full Article 

No Deflation Fears

No Deflation Fears

Indian consumers respond to softer oil, food prices.  Full Article 

West at Fault

West at Fault

Iran supreme leader blames West for Islamic State rise, wants regional solution.  Full Article 

Yazidi Genocide

Yazidi Genocide

Islamic State onslaught on Yazidis may be attempted genocide - U.N..  Full Article 

IS in India

IS in India

India says Islamic State not yet a threat.  Full Article 

Denying Claims

Denying Claims

Singer Kesha denied drug, sex claims against producer three years ago.  Full Article 

Top Editor Dies

Top Editor Dies

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies at 93.  Full Article 

Diwali Pollution

Diwali Pollution

Delhi braces for worst air quality this Diwali week.  Full Article 

Goal Fest

Goal Fest

Champions League sets record with 40 goals in one night.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage