Sri Lankans hold a demonstration in support of Rizana Nafeek in Colombo. (file photo)
Saudi Arabia has called back its ambassador to Sri Lanka amid tension between the two countries after a Sri Lankan maid was beheaded by the Al Saud regime over the accusation of killing a child in her care.
According to official sources at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Riyadh’s decision is a response to a similar move by Sri Lankan government which recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia last month, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.
Tensions between the two countries has been escalating since January 9 when the Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafik was executed at a prison in the Saudi Arabian capital city, Riyadh, despite numerous appeals lodged by the Sri Lankan government.
Nafeek was reportedly sentenced to death in 2007 after her Saudi employer accused her of killing his four-month infant while she was bottle-feeding.
The Saudi Interior Ministry the Sri Lankan maid was beheaded for strangling the baby after a dispute with the baby’s mother. However, Nafeek, who was only 17 at the time, had denied killing of the child.
Human Rights Watch also condemned the execution and said, “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,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program director.
“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.