A demonstrator holds an image of Rizana Nafeek, jailed in
Saudi Arabia on charges of murdering a four-month-old baby
who was in her care, during a protest demanding her release
in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Colombo last July.
Photo by Reuters
Sri Lanka recalled its envoy to Saudi Arabia after the
execution of a Sri Lankan housemaid over the death of an infant
in her care in 2005.
Rizana Nafeek was beheaded in the town of Dawadmy, near the
capital Riyadh, on Wednesday morning (local time) after being
sentenced to death in 2007. She was accused by her Saudi
employer of killing his infant daughter while she was
"(This is) to show our displeasure for not hearing the
government's appeal to save Rizana Nafeek," Karunatilake
Amunugama, secretary of the External Affairs Ministry, told
Reuters. "He (the envoy) has been recalled with immediate
The Sri Lankan government appealed against the death penalty
but the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the sentence in 2010.
The infant's mother rejected a request to forgive the maid,
which is the most important criteria in considering the
release of a murderer in Saudi Arabia, said a top Sri Lankan
government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Saudi Interior Ministry has said the infant was strangled
after a dispute between the maid and the baby's mother.
Hundreds of Sri Lankan women in the island nation's capital
Colombo protested against Nafeek's execution on Thursday and
said the government should have done more to seek her
release. More protests were planned for Friday.
The maid's mother asked the government to help her to bring
her body back to Sri Lanka, local media reported. But
government officials said she had been buried in Saudi
Saudi households are highly dependent on housemaids from
African and South Asian countries. There have been cases
reported of domestic abuse in which families mistreat their
maids, who have then attacked the children of their
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday condemning the execution and
said Nafeek was a victim of flaws in Saudi Arabia's judicial
Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, is an absolute monarchy that
follows the strict Wahhabi school of Islam. Judges base
decisions on their own interpretation of sharia, or Islamic
law, rather than on a written legal code or on precedent.