Agence France-Presse

Saudi Arabia beheads Rizana Nafeek, Sri Lankan maid accused of killing infant

A Sri Lankan vendor displays the front page of daily newspapers in Colombo on Jan. 10, 2013.
Credit: Ishara S.Kodikara

The Saudi government has beheaded a Sri Lankan maid, Rizana Nafeek, for killing an infant in Saudi.

In 2007, Nafeek was convicted of smothering to death 4-month-old Naif al-Quthaibi while working as his nanny in 2005.

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Nafeek, who was 17 when the baby in her care died, claimed he had choked to death while drinking from a bottle, the LA Times reported.

She said an earlier confession she made was obtained under duress, according to rights groups, which added that she had no attorney to defend her until she had already been sentenced to beheading.

Press TV quoted Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program director, as saying:

"It appears that she was herself a child at the time and there are real concerns about the fairness of her trial."

The Sri Lankan government had appealed the death penalty, according to the Wall Street Journal, adding its voice to an international campaign for clemency.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the execution breached the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Saudi Arabia had ratified.

However, the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the sentence in 2010 and the verdict was ratified by the Interior Ministry.

The Saudi Interior Ministry maintained that Nafeek strangled the baby after a dispute with the baby’s mother. 

Nafeek was executed in the town of Dawadmy, near the capital Riyadh.

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