Sri Lankan activists hold a demonstration in support of Rizana Nafeek. (file photo)
Norway has condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Sri Lankan domestic worker over the accusation that she killed a child in her care in 2005.
In a statement issued on January 11, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide denounced the beheading of Rizana Nafeek, who was only 17 at the time of the execution on January 9.
“I am shocked by the execution in Saudi Arabia of Sri Lankan Rizana Nafeek. Norway condemns her execution, which is also a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as she was a minor at the time of the crime for which she was charged,” the Norwegian foreign minister stated.
“We urge the Saudi Arabian authorities to comply with their international obligations,” he added.
The Saudi Interior Ministry said Nafeek was beheaded for strangling the baby after a dispute with the baby’s mother.
However, she denied killing the four-month-old infant.
Human Rights Watch also condemned the execution, saying, “In executing Rizana Nafeek, Saudi authorities demonstrated callous disregard for basic humanity as well as Saudi Arabia’s international legal obligations.”
Before the execution, Amnesty International had said that it appeared Nafeek had not had access to lawyers during her trial process.
“It appears that she was herself a child at the time and there are real concerns about the fairness of her trial,” Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program director, said.
“Despite a chorus of pleas for Saudi Arabian authorities to step in and reconsider Rizana Nafeek’s death sentence, they went ahead and executed her anyway, proving once more how woefully out of step they are with their international obligations regarding the use of the death penalty,” Luther said after the execution.