Saudi execution of Sri Lankan flayed

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 09:40 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) Human Rights Watch Thursday criticized Saudi Arabia for executing a Sri Lankan woman worker convicted of killing a baby in her care in 2005 when she was 17.

"Saudi Arabia is one of just three countries that executes people for crimes they committed as children," said Nisha Varia of the US-based human rights body.

"Rizana (Nafeek) is yet another victim of the deep flaws in Saudi Arabia's judicial system," she said.

On Jan 9, the Saudi interior ministry announced the execution of Nafeek, rejecting pleas by Sri Lankan leaders to spare her life.

Under the system of 'qisas' (retaliation) that governs murder cases in Saudi Arabia, the dead baby's parents could have granted Nafeek a pardon or accepted blood money in compensation.

Nafeek had been working in Saudi Arabia for two weeks in 2005 when the employer family's four-month-old baby died in her care.

Nafeek retracted a confession that she said was made under duress, and says the baby died in a choking accident while drinking from a bottle.

International law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18.

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