The Supreme Court in Riyadh has endorsed the death sentence given to a Sri Lankan maid who murdered a Saudi infant in 2005, sources from Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry told Arab News.
A three-member panel of judges from the Dawadami High Court headed by Chief Justice Abdullah Al-Rosaimi found Rizana Nafeek guilty of murdering the four-month-old son of Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi and sentenced her to death on June 16, 2007.
The court heard that Nafeek killed the child after she was asked to bottle-feed him by the sponsor's wife.
The court informed Nafeek that she could file an appeal against her death sentence, which she did.
When the maid's case was referred to the Supreme Court via the Court of Cassation, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) assigned Saudi law firm Khateb Al-Shammary on a reported SR150,000 contract to defend her.
The Supreme Court referred the case again to the Dawadami court for further clarification on the appeal made by Al-Shammary before issuing its verdict.
Nafeek arrived in Riyadh on May 4, 2005 to work as a housemaid for Al-Otaibi. According to Nafeek’s passport, her date of birth is Feb. 2, 1982, while her birth certificate indicates her actual date of birth as Feb. 4, 1988.
She killed the baby on the afternoon of May 22, 2005. She was arrested by Dawadami police officers the same day, and allegedly confessed to killing the child.
AHRC Executive Director Basil Fernando told Arab News by telephone from Hong Kong Sunday that he would seek the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to resolve the case.
He also appealed to Al-Otaibi to consider sparing Nafeek’s life on humanitarian grounds and give her clemency.
"At the moment, we have no comment on the verdict of the Supreme Court," a senior diplomat from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh said.
In Sri Lanka, the Rupavahini and MTV Sirasa televisions channels also reported the outcome of Nafeek's case.
A social worker who visited Nafeek in jail during the weekend told Arab News that the maid was fine and desperate to see her parents and family.
"Although the prison authorities are aware of the final verdict, they have not told her, nor have I," the social worker said.