Sri Lankan Muslims are wounded and numbed by the beheading of 24-year-old Sri Lankan house maid, Rizana Nafeek, in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, for the alleged murder of a four-month-old child in her care in 2005.
AHM Azwer, a ruling party MP, who had, along with other prominent Lankan Muslims, journeyed to the town of Dhawadmi in November 2011 to plead with community elders to pardon Rizana said, “The elders of the Otaibi tribe promised to secure pardon from the deceased child’s parents as per Saudi law. Subsequently, President Rajapaksa, along with our Attorney General, met the Saudi Prince to press the case for release. On January 6, this year, the President wrote to the Saudi King requesting him to stop the execution. But all to no avail. We are wounded by the execution.”
“They have killed her. I’m numb,” said Shreen Saroor, human rights activist and Convenor of Women’s Action Network. According to Human Rights Watch the Lankan government had not given Rizana legal aid till the trial court passed the death sentence in 2007.
At one stage, Rizana had retracted from the initial confessional statement saying that the confession was made under duress.Rights organizations said that no forensic evidence was called for, or given, because of the absence of competent legal assistance during the trial.