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    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

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    Nafeek Files Appeal a Day Prior to Deadline
    Sarah Abdullah & Mohammed Rasooldeen, Arab News

    JEDDAH, 17 July 2007 — Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan maid found guilty a month ago of murdering an infant that was in her care, filed an appeal to the ruling a day before the deadline after the Sri Lankan Embassy stepped into retain legal representation on behalf of the young woman, who faces the prospect of being beheaded publicly for the alleged murder.

    She was found guilty by a panel of three Shariah judges on June 16 without legal representation, which is not required under Shariah law.

    “We respect the laws of the host country and accordingly we have been following the legal procedures to save this girl from the gallows,” said Lankan Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila by telephone from Colombo.

    According to Sri Lankan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia A.M.J. Sadiq, an attorney from the law firm of Kateb Fahad Al-Shammari has been retained by the embassy to represent the case. The lawyers are filing the appeal and claiming that the case is accidental death, which would take execution off the table and leave the penalty a matter of paying blood money.

    The lawyer was permitted by prison authorities on Saturday to visit the Dawadami jailhouse and meet with Nafeek for the purpose of escorting her to a notary public in order to acquire a power of attorney. The appeal was won on Sunday, a day before the deadline to appeal. Had the deadline been broken, Nafeek would have faced the imminent prospect of public beheading.

    The case against Nafeek has been complicated by the allegation that she was provided forged documents in Sri Lanka that puts her current age at 25. The date of birth on Rafeek’s Lankan birth certificate allegedly has her born in 1988, which would have made her 17 at the time she clams the infant child she was assigned to care for accidentally choked while she was feeding it in May 2005.

    At the time the incident took place, Nafeek had been at her new job for two weeks. The parents of the dead child claim that Nafeek strangled the child to death.

    “We will also try other avenues to save Rizana’s life by appealing for pardon on humanitarian grounds,” said Bhaila, referring to an appeal for clemency by the child’s family. (Under Shariah law the family can forfeit their private right to see justice by the sword, usually in exchange for blood money.)

    After the judges found the housemaid guilty, Naif Jiziyan Khalafal Otaibi, the father of the child and Nafeek’s Saudi sponsor, refused to give up his private right to see Nafeek executed.

    Sadiq says that the Lankan Embassy has been monitoring the development of the case since the alleged murder occurred in May 2005. “It’s due to our provision of the necessary consular assistance to Rizana from the outset and our vigilant monitoring of the case that has made the timely filing of the judicial appeal against the death sentence possible,” he said.

    Nafeek, who is from a war-torn, impoverished Sri Lankan village and has a ninth-grade education, reportedly arrived in the Kingdom on an altered passport obtained by the employee recruitment office in Sri Lanka. Despite having no previous training in childcare, Rizana (with the Saudi family under the impression she was 23, not 17) was assigned the duty of bottle-feeding the infant.

    According to Nafeek she was left alone to feed the child when the boy began to choke. Panicked she says that she began to shout for help. By the time the mother arrived, the infant had expired. The Otaibis accused Nafeek of strangling the child to death and she was turned over to the police of Dawdami, about 380 km outside of Riyadh. According to Saudi authorities, Nafeek withdraw her confession saying she had no translators at the police station, no legal assistance, was under duress and may not have completely understood what she was signing.

    Meanwhile, a group of Sri Lankan expatriate wives in Riyadh is planning to meet the mother of the infant to plead for clemency on behalf of Rizana.

    “We would like to make a humble appeal on behalf of Rizana who had struck this tragedy hardly after a month’s stay in the Kingdom,” a member of the group said.
    The Asian Human Rights Commission said in a statement yesterday that Nafeek’s legal representatives would also prepare appeals to clemency to the infant’s family and to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The embassy has assigned Mohammed Niyas, an embassy staff member, to look after Rizana’s interests as a representative of the Sri Lankan government.

    AHRC Executive Director Basil Fernando had earlier publicly condemned the Sri Lankan government for not undertaking the legal costs of the appeal. Fernando said the AHRC footed the first payment of SR50,000 to the law firm Kateb Fahad Al-Shammari. The firm is currently waiting for documents related to the case to be released by the Interior Ministry, after which the lawyers are asking for a second SR50,000 payment. The total lawyer’s fee for the appeal will be SR150,000. The AHRC said two Sri Lankan workers donated $2,500 (SR9,375) and the Netherlands-based Nona Foundation had given $5,400 (SR20,250).

    Source : http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&sect...tegory=Kingdom
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    1. Muzna - Pakistani or Arab term used for someone that excels or over-achieves. Usually used as a congratulatory or praising remark.
    Actual Muznas are a rare find. Many fakes are in circulation as parents attempt to influence their female offspring's personality and destiny by naming them Muzna.

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    muzna's Avatar
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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    Background

    Rizana was born on 4 February 1988 in Muttur, a war-torn and impoverished Muslim majority village in eastern Sri Lanka which was also affected by the recent Tsunami. She was still a schoolgirl when she was compelled by poverty to go to Saudi Arabia as a maid in May 2005. Though she was only 17 years old at that time, her passport, obtained by an irresponsible employment agent under false pretenses, gave her date of birth as 2 February 1982.

    A few days after her arrival in Riyadh, Rizana was transferred by her sponsor to work in his family household in Dawadami, about 390 km west of Riyadh. She was sent to the house of Mr. Naif Jiziyan Khklafal Otaibi, whose wife had a baby boy who was then four months old. Soon after she started working for this family she was assigned to bottle feed the baby - she was left alone when doing this task. Rizana Nafeek had no experience of any sort in caring for such a young infant, as she was only a child herself.


    The Incident

    On 22 May 2005, while Rizana was feeding the child, he started choking. Panicking, she tried to soothe the child by rubbing his chest, neck and face, while shouting for help.Hearing her shouts the mother came running, but by that time the baby was either unconscious or dead. The family handed Rizana over to the police, accusing her of strangling the baby. At the police station there was no translator so she did not understand the charges brought against her. Rizana was made to sign a confession and later charges were filed in court of murder by strangulation.

    The Case

    On her first appearance in court she was told by the police to repeat her confession, which she did. Later, when she was finally able to talk to an interpreter, sent by the Sri Lankan embassy, she explained in her own language what actually happened. This version was also stated in court thereafter. According to reports, the judges who heard the case requested the father of the child to use his prerogative to pardon the young girl. But, the father refused to grant such pardon. On that basis the court sentenced her to death by beheading. This sentence was made on June 16, 2007.

    The last date of appeal was July 16. The total cost of the appeal is 40,000 US dollars or 150,000 Saudi Riyals. 13,333 US dollars has been given to the lawyers by the Asian Human Rights Commission as the Sri Lanka government has not given money for the appeal. A Sri Lankan government delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila is hoping to travel to Saudi Arabia to press for Rizana's release.

    The question is what can be done for someone who has not received proper legal representation, and from all accounts, appears to have been wrongly convicted. There are a number of human rights organisations working on the issue, including Amnesty and the Asian Human Rights Centre. Please do visit the AHRC site as it includes a call for ordinary people to take action on this issue. The site also goes in to more detail about the background of Rizana's situation.





    Rizana's house in Muttur
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    1. Muzna - Pakistani or Arab term used for someone that excels or over-achieves. Usually used as a congratulatory or praising remark.
    Actual Muznas are a rare find. Many fakes are in circulation as parents attempt to influence their female offspring's personality and destiny by naming them Muzna.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    there's a petition to save her..

    http://www.petitiononline.com/rizana1/petition.html
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

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    muzna's Avatar
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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    assalam..
    rizana's parents left to saudi today to plead with the baby's parents to pardon her.
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    1. Muzna - Pakistani or Arab term used for someone that excels or over-achieves. Usually used as a congratulatory or praising remark.
    Actual Muznas are a rare find. Many fakes are in circulation as parents attempt to influence their female offspring's personality and destiny by naming them Muzna.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    Quote Originally Posted by muzna View Post
    assalam..
    rizana's parents left to saudi today to plead with the baby's parents to pardon her.
    I understand under Sharia the relatives of the victim have that power but what about the evidence of her guilt? How about the entity that proposes to take her life actually supply some real evidence of her guilt? Domestic help in Saudi are one step from being 21st century slaves. Great system they got there.

    How would it be if the internees at Git'mo were executed on the basis of confessions in a foreign language? Hmmm?

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    so what she did was accidental,it looks.any idea what the sharia says about such accidental deaths?It was not intentional,so she is innocent right?no blood money or anything?
    Yes I agree with you Cognes,the Saudi system sucks a lot when it comes to foreigners most of the time.
    Last edited by Bittersteel; 07-20-2007 at 03:35 PM.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    I find it a bit confusing, the case of the maid. I mean, if the parents where nearby why'd she call for help and not run with the child to the parents. Why would she choke the baby if she was just recently handed over the baby's responsibility. It would have taken her some time to even get annoyed with the baby and think abt strangling him. BUt still her background is very war torn and full of violence.

    It's a dodgy case. WalAllahu 'Alim.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    yes its dodgy and I don't trust Saudis to make the correct judgments.Maybe I am a bit prejudiced.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    But a doctor didn't see the baby's body He could gave to the parents the correct interpretation of what happened with the child.

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    Cognescenti's Avatar
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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    But a doctor didn't see the baby's body He could gave to the parents the correct interpretation of what happened with the child.
    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I dont think autopsies are permitted under Islam.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    You can have autopsies under very special conditions.. I have not read this whole thread but there are other ways indeed to devise if she is guilty of abuse say by way of 'shaken baby syndrome' just from imaging studies, which are very much available every where in the world and there would be no need for an autopsy...
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    now just skimming through the original article.. that whole 'reviving the baby' bit, I get this sort of mental picture I can see it all now is so very suspect-- I don't wish to cast doubt on this young lady... and do hope indeed she is granted clemency but I am not sure of her innocence without some medical examiner's report... I think actually it is the only way to determine innocence or guilt regardless of her or the parent's testimony!
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    I'm not sure of her innocence either, but I would like to see some evidence of guilt other than a confession in a foreign language.

    Would a post mortem CT be permitted?

    I have personally never heard of a woman being guilty shaken-baby syndrome. I suspect it does happen, just not nearly as often it does with men who don't seem to be as good at nurturing.

    Also, shaken-baby syndrome is not usually promptly fatal, but induces a coma and deterioration.

    There may be good evidence, but how would an outisder know with the Saudi system?

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    What do you mean of an outsider knowing of their system? Medicine is international.. they have doctors there you know?... my uncle lived in Riyadh and was a practicing physician for 12 years before moving back to my home country... one could tell what ailed this baby, just from moderate ocular trauma-- CT scans w/out contrast and MRI are excellent, and are found even in mediocre hospitals... Saudi Arabia is a rich country and their hospitals are excellent... I just feel like the report is deficient-- but I rarely read a news brief of any sort that is beefy and answers my questions.. they are rather orchestrated and rehearsed, I am not sure where truth is from error save for eye witness events... I Think journalism is a lost cause and has gone to the dogs.. I do hope that whomever seeks justice or clemency in this case finds it.. because I imagine it tragic for all parties...

    p.s I like that bit about women being nurturing -- I agree =)
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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    I didn't know either the child must be shake in this way. But she was accused of strangling the child. It was not neccesary to make the autopsy but the fingers print in his neck, i think were visible. I would have go for an autopsy to establish her guilty for sure. Its a big responsability whats happening here and for me its obvious she had good intention to help her parents when she accepted the job. Her dream was to make money, not murder childrens.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    You are right.. I don't know.. this was one thing I could think off right off the bat where the child wouldn't necessarily have any physical symptoms of trauma or abuse ...there are lots of nanny's who have committed similar crimes.. there was a famous one a few yrs back of some of British au pair Louise Woodward

    http://www.cnn.com/US/9710/31/aupair...rap/index.html
    look at that cute baby in the pic... so happy and full of life.. it is really very tragic.. Almost inconceivable. so I'd rather not think about it...
    As for autopsies--- they are not very pleasant, but are sometimes a necessary evil -- I think if there are other methods to employ to make a sound judgement, and the whole process less painful for everyone then that route should have been pursued... At this point I don't wish to cast judgement on either parties... This isn't politics of the horrible Saudis or Muslims or Bengali's or whomever is on the hate list du jour .. it is about two families very torn apart by a tragic event... with potential to become even more tragic.... it is time to look at the individual tree than the entire forest when studying this... and hope for the best for all those involved insha'Allah
    peace!
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    They want to take the life of a young woman They should establish for sure what happened, but i think after 2 years its very hard or even imposible to do that.
    She is coming from a humble family without violence background, without nightlife like the woman in your link.

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    muzna's Avatar
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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    she didnt shake the child..she was bottle feeding the child when the child started to choke..she panicked and called for help..she was 17
    she had no legal representation throughout the legal proceedings..which was in a language totally foreign to her..and she signed documents she didnt understand..and that was how she was 'proven' guilty.
    Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    1. Muzna - Pakistani or Arab term used for someone that excels or over-achieves. Usually used as a congratulatory or praising remark.
    Actual Muznas are a rare find. Many fakes are in circulation as parents attempt to influence their female offspring's personality and destiny by naming them Muzna.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    Quote Originally Posted by muzna View Post
    she didnt shake the child..she was bottle feeding the child when the child started to choke..she panicked and called for help..she was 17
    she had no legal representation throughout the legal proceedings..which was in a language totally foreign to her..and she signed documents she didnt understand..and that was how she was 'proven' guilty.
    I am thinking why no one didn't turn against the agency which changed her age and sent an unqualified young woman like professsional baby sitter They lied in the first place and didn't ensure any training for her.

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    Re: Sri Lankan girl on death row in saudi for the death of baby in her care

    Why Saudi Gov't allowed an underage girl to be a nanny. And I'm blaming the baby's parents too.... they trusted a 17 year old girl to take care of their baby 24/7?

    Crazy!!!ffended:
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