Sri Lanka Brief
NewsSri Lankan Civil Society Calls on the Government to Save the Life of the Female House Maid in Saudi Arabia

Sri Lankan Civil Society Calls on the Government to Save the Life of the Female House Maid in Saudi Arabia

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(File photo)
STATEMENT BY WOMEN’S ORGANISATIONS, CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS AND CONCERNED CITIZENS.

Death Sentence Imposed on a Sri Lankan Migrant Worker in Saudi Arabia

We the undersigned express our deep dismay and distress that as a yet unnamed Sri Lankan housemaid living in Saudi Arabia has been found guilty of adultery and has been sentenced to death by stoning.

According to newspaper reports, a court in Riyadh sentenced the woman, reportedly a mother of two, based on her confession. The male worker involved in the case who has been found guilty of fornication (as he is not married) has been given a sentence of 100 lashes. Little is known of the circumstances of the case; generally these cases are difficult to prove as it must be corroborated by four male witnesses or eight female witnesses. However since the woman pleaded guilty the case has been exempted from this standard of proof.

In response to the conviction, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and the Ministry of Foreign Employment has expressed concern and instructed the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia to take all steps to save the convicted woman. The SLBFE has hired a lawyer to appear on behalf of the woman in order to obtain a revocation of the death sentence. Minister Thalatha Athukorale has however noted that this would be an uphill task given that the woman has confessed to the offence.

This is the second instance that a Sri Lankan housemaid has been given the death sentence. Previously Rizana Nazeek was beheaded on 9th January 2013 for the alleged murder of a four-month old baby boy. Nafeek’s conviction was also based on a confession, which she later claimed was made under duress and without linguistic assistance. Following a case which dragged on for five years and despite appeals made by the government of Sri Lanka and international and local women’s and human rights organisations, the Saudi government went ahead with her execution in January 2013.

According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is amongst the top three countries that implement the death penalty and the majority of those who are executed are foreign nationals convicted for non-lethal crimes such as adultery, apostasy, sorcery and witchcraft.

We appeal to THE RESPECTIVE AUTHORITIES TO take all possible measures to revoke the death sentence and ensure the migrant worker’s safe return to Sri Lanka. We EARNESTLY call on you to expeditiously bring to bear all possible means to ensure that the migrant worker is granted justice. We further call on you to ensure that Sri Lankan migrant workers are granted all possible support and protection to ensure their human rights.

Sincerely

1. Action Network for Migrant Workers (ACTFORM)
2. Centre for Policy Alternatives
3. Centre for Social Concerns, Jaela
4. Ceylon Workers Red Flag Union
5. Citizens Voice for Justice and Peace
6. Domestic Workers Union
7. Families of the Disappeared
8. Kantha Shakthi Forum
9. Lanka Estate Workers Union
10. United Federation of Labour
11. Lawyers Collective for democracy
12. Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum
13. Red Flag Women’s Movement
14. Rights Now
15. Rural Women’s Front, Galle
16. Savisthri Women’s Movement for Justice
17. Sri Lanka Women’s NGO Forum (SLWNGOF)
18. Suriya Women’s Development Centre, Batticaloa
19. Trikone Cultural Centre
20. Woman’s Power
21. Women and Media Collective (WMC)
22. Women In Need
23. Women’s Resource Center, Kurunegala
24. Association for War Affected Women, Kandy
25. Christian Workers fellowship (CWF)Women Action Network, Jaffna
26. Future In Our Hands
27. The Grassrooted Trust
28. Coalition for Educational development
29. SAHODARATHWA SANSADAYA
30. Christian Alliance for Social Action (CASA)
31. Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation
32. Inter Relligious Federation of Ampara District (IRFAD)
33. Al Minan Women’s Society – Kalmunai
34. Fathima Women’s Society – Central Camp
35. Nisha Women’s Society Kalmunai
36. Ambikai Women’s Society – Central Camp
37. Malar Villy Society Central Camp
38. Sivasakthi Women’s Society Central Camp
39. Ina Ottrumaikana Pengal Abiviruthy Ondriyam Central Camp
40. Women’s Political Academy

41. Amal Mohamed
42. Amita Weerasinghe
43. Ameena Hussein
44. Anberiya Hanifa
45. Ann Jabbar
46. Ainslie Joseph
47. Annie Kurian
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105. J. Madanaruby
106. Kalani Subasinghe
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110. K. Vinoja
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114. Lesley Sirimane
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118. Dr L Solomons
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120. M. Indrawathi
121. Mahendran Thiruvarangan
122. Maithree Wickramasinghe
123. Marisa de Silva
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133. M.M.Jenita
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135. Nayagara Jinadasa
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137. Neil Priyantha Fernando

138. Nimalka Fernando
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154. Prema Gamage
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164. Rev. Jason J. Selvaraja, Assembly of God, Chavakachcheri
165. Rev. M. V. E. Ravichandran, Jaffna Diocesan Catholic Youth Federation
166. Riyani
167. Rikaza Laffir
168. Rohini Dep Weerasinghe
169. Rohini Hensman
170. Roshani Fernandopulle
171. Ruki Fernando
172. Rushdi Zackariya
173. Ruwendi Wakwella
174. R.Logitha
175. S. Ananthi
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180. Sepali Kottegoda
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222. W.A. Dayani
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224. Zuhri Zackariya
225. Zulfika Ismail

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