Several women`s civil organizations and leading women personalities in Sri Lanka have written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene and save the life of Naffeek Rizana who is on death row in Saudi Arabia.
The groups appealed to the President to intervene immediately and get a pardon for the girl noting that what has happened is a tragic event and is not an intentional murder by strangulation.
`Bearing in mind the close and cordial relationship you have with countries in the Gulf we look forward to effective intervention by you speedily to save the life of Naffeek Rizana,` the organizations said in the letter sent by the NGO, Mothers and Daughters of Lanka.
Naffeek Rizana was born on February 4, 1988 and comes from a war-torn, impoverished village. Like many impoverished families her parents had sent her abroad. According to newspaper reports she left Sri Lanka as an under-aged child at the age of 17 years. It is rather unfortunate that children of our country get exposed to such dubious rackets of employment agencies. In the case of Naffeek Rizana, the altered birth date, which is to be found in her passport now, is February 2, 1982. It was on the basis of this altered date that the employment agency fixed her employment in Saudi Arabia and she went there in May 2005.
She is a young teenager who was entrusted the task of feeding an infant by her employers. It is obvious that she had no experience in feeding babies. As it has been reported the baby-boy died under tragic circumstances due to choking.
Misunderstanding the situation the family members had treated the teenager very harshly and handed her over to the police, accusing her of strangling the baby. At the police station, it is reported that she was very harshly handled. Like in all other past cases this young teenager had no translator nor other assistance to explain what was happening. It is alleged that she was made to sign a confession and that later charges were filed, in court of murder by strangulation.
According to reports, the judges who heard the case requested the father of the child to use his prerogative to pardon the young girl. However, the father refused to grant such pardon. On that basis the court sentenced