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Pardoning of Rizana Nafeek very far away: Uncertainty looms

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Reports reveal that Minister Dilan Perera is making arrangements to constitute a government delegation to seek pardon for the condemned Sri Lankan house maid Rizana Nafeek, who is languishing in the death row at the Dawadami prisons since July 2007.

Dilan Perera, Minister for Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare speaking to Asian Tribune said that he will speak with anybody to seek pardon to the Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek.

In the beginning Rizana Nafeek in fact arrived in Riyadh as a house maid on 01 April 2005.

A few days after her arrival in Riyadh, Rizana Nafeek had been transferred by her sponsor Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi to his family household in Dawadami, about 390 km west of Riyad.

While she was bottle-feeding the infant around 12.30 p.m.(on 25th May, 2005), the baby-boy started choking, but according to Rizana Nafeek statement: “When I was feeding the infant, I noticed that the milk was oozing through the mouth and nose of the infant. I stroke the throat of the infant gently. As the infant was seen having its eyelids closed, I thought that it was snoozing.

According to her version, when she was bottle feeding, “I noticed that the milk was oozing through the mouth and nose of the infant,” it clearly reveals that the question of choking while feeding does not arise.

Anyhow, the 4 month old baby of Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi died. Cause of death was not known as the Saudi Police failed to conduct the postmortem on the deceased infant baby.

Rizana Nafeek had been arrested by the Dawadami Police on the same day, and it was reported that she had allegedly confessed to the killing the child.

Rizana had repeated her confession in the open court. However, at the court hearing on 3rd February, 2007, Rizana retracted her confession and informed the court that her original confession admitting to the killing the child had been obtained by the Police under duress.

Initially a three-member panel of judges from the Dawadami High Court headed by Chief Justice Abdullah Al-Rosaimi found Rizana Nafeek guilty of murdering the four-month-old son of Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi and sentenced her to death on June 16, 2007.

The court informed Rizana Nafeek that she could file an appeal against her death sentence, which she did.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia confirmed the death sentence of Sri Lanka house maid Rizana Nafeek on the 25th of September 2010.

Unfortunately, the lawyer who appeared for Rizana Nafeek came to know of the confirmation of the death sentence only on 19 October 2010 and he has informed this to the Sri Lankan Embassy on the following day.

On 25th October, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of External Affairs handed over the original letter by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Saudi Ambassador in Sri Lanka seeking clemency to Rizana Nafeek .

So far Sri Lanka Government has not heard any official response from the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the clemency appeal by Sri Lanka President, but it is said that the execution has been suspended, but so far the suspension is not confirmed.

Following the clemency appeal, Sri Lanka President has appointed Abdul Qader A, Al-Mashoor, a UPFA candidate from Beruwala in the last general elections and a well established businessman in Saudia Arabia, as Presidential Coordinator to make necessary arrangements to obtain pardon for Rizana Nafeek from the parents of the deceased Saudi infant baby.

In the meantime it is now learnt that Minister Dilan Perera is making necessary arrangement to constitute a Government delegation to seek pardon from the parents of the deceased Saudi infant baby-boy.

Asian Tribune learnt that following are appointed by Minister Dilan Perera as his delegates to visit Saudi Arabia and to seek pardon for Rizana Nafeek :

Minister Rishad Bathiyudeen to lead the delegation to Riyadh and along with him others in the delegation are, Alavi Moulana – Governor of the Western Province, Nakaeeb Moulana – Secretary to the Governor of the Western Province , A.H.M Azwer MP, M.S. Thowfeek MP and the parents of Rizana Nafeek. (This delegation has to be confirmed).

Given below the excerpts of the interview Asian Tribune had with Dilan Perera, Minister for Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare:

Asian Tribune: Regarding the condemned Sri Lanka House maid Rizana Nafeek case, are you sending a Government delegation to seek pardon for her?

Minister Dilan Perera: I might … yes.

Asian Tribune : I was told that your delegation is leaving for Mecca on the 20th and to Riyadh on the 22nd of this month?

Minister Dilan Perera: Dates are not fixed as yet. It won’t happen on the 20th.

Asian Tribune: I think you are delaying it due to the forthcoming final stages of the local Government elections – scheduled for 08 October?

Minister Dilan Perera: At present we are working very closely with the relevant authorities to seek pardon for Rizana Nafeek.

Asian Tribune: What about contacting the Saudi parents of the deceased 4 month old infant baby ?

Minister Dilan Perera: The consent of the parents is needed as per Sharia laws.

Asian Tribune: Are you in touch with them?

Minister Dilan Perera:As I told you earlier, we are doing everything possible to get the pardon for Rizana Nafeek according to the Sharia law.

Asian Tribune : I learnt that Sri Lanka’s President has already appointed a person as his coordinator to obtain pardon for Rizana Nafeek? Are you in touch with him?

Minister Dilan Perera: In my case I will speak to anybody and everybody, If I can obtain pardon for Rizana.

Asian Tribune: I was told he is a business man in Riyadh and he is one Abdul Qader A, Al-Mashoor. Once the President has appointed someone to work in this case, then why should there be a delegation to seek pardon for House maid Rizana Nafeek?

Minister Dilan Perera: Yes, he is the nephew of our Governor Alavi Moulana.

Asian Tribune: Is he also involved in the delegation of yours that will be in Riyadh to work out the pardon for Rizana?

Minister Dilan Perera: Well if you are so friendly with him then you should know better.

Asian Tribune: There is no doubt about my friendship with him. Even earlier when I went to Saudi Arabia in May, he helped me a lot in enabling me to contact the family members to file an investigative report which in fact spurned all of you to show some lively interest in the life of the condemned House maid Rizana Nafeek.

Minister Dilan Perera: If that so then you should know whether he is in our delegation `or not?

Asian Tribune: I think nobody has contacted him up to date. Furthermore I came to know that Minister Rishad Bathiyudeen is leading the delegation to Riyadh, but are you not going?

Minister Dilan Perera: I am a person, I only want to reach the destination, but I don’t talk about the journey. I am not in the habit of talking about the journey.

Asian Tribune: We are all interested in the results of your effort and not the details. Trust you will bring Rizana to Sri Lanka.

 Asian Tribune


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September 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Posted in News

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