WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) is shocked and saddened to learn of the execution of Sri Lankan migrant worker Rizana Nafeek on January 9th in Saudi Arabia. USTPAC had made a plea earlier, to his Majesty, the King of Saudi Arabia to show compassion to Ms. Nafeek, for a crime which she allegedly had committed when she was still a minor at age 17. Rizana Nafeek was beheaded after having spent 5 years in prison, in spite of protests and condemnations from international rights groups. The execution has violated international conventions and shocked the civilized world.
"We deplore the barbaric beheading of young Rizana by the Saudi authorities," commented Dr. Elias Jeyarajah, speaking for USTPAC. "The conviction of a child without access to legal assistance coupled with coerced confession under duress, and carrying out the beheading despite numerous appeals for clemency casts an indelible blot on the Saudi Arabian monarchy," said the spokesman.
USPTAC also condemns the government of Sri Lanka for failing to provide adequate counseling and legal representation for Ms. Nafeek. Instead of making high level contact with the Saudi government to stay the execution, the Sri Lankan government was misleading the public by claiming that Ms. Nafeek's release was imminent. "The Rajapaksa government embroiled in its own illegal impeachment of Sri Lanka's Chief Justice left the young Rizana undefended," charged the spokesman.
USTPAC calls upon the International community, the UN, International Labor Organization and human rights organizations to work together to strengthen the rights of migrant women workers, especially those working in the Middle East and to help alleviate the plight of many who are abused in these countries. USTPAC also calls on the international community to pressure Sri Lanka to ensure that its migrant workers are protected from abusive employers, and the government provides quality consular services when needed irrespective of the ethnicity of its citizens.
USTPAC sends its deep condolences to the family of Rizana Nafeek and stands with them at this moment of great tragedy and injustice.
(1) Outrage over beheading: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/10/world/meast/saudi-arabia-sri-lankan-maid/index.html?c=world&page=1
(2) USTPAC Appeal for Clemency: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/7/prweb8677380.htm
(3) Statement by Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=20556
(4) Impeachment of Chief Justice: http://www.icj.org/icj-condemns-impeachment-of-sri-lankas-chief-justice/
Media contact: Elias Jey 202-595-3123 http://www.ustpac.org/
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SOURCE United States Tamil Political Action Council