Tamil Diplomat

Sri Lanka pleads for Saudi maid sentenced to death by stoning

Colombo has expressed concern to Saudi Arabia after a Sri Lankan housemaid working in the country was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, an official said on Monday.

Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera met the Saudi envoy to Colombo last week and raised the case of the woman and a man convicted alongside her, and asked to speak to his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir.

“We are still awaiting a response to have that conversation,” said a foreign ministry official.

The woman, a 45-year-old married mother of two who has not been named, was convicted of adultery in August.

She was sentenced to death by stoning, while an unmarried Sri Lankan man convicted alongside her was sentenced to 100 lashes.

Sri Lankan lawmakers from all parties have united in urging the government to secure clemency for the woman and a pardon for the man.

Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority on Monday appealed to the Saudi King Salman on Monday to intervene and pardon the couple.

“Your Majesty’s kind intervention in pardoning these unfortunate victims would enhance the high esteem in which Sri Lankans hold Islam, the people and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka.

Several lawmakers have also asked the government to ban Sri Lankan women from travelling to Saudi Arabia for employment.

In 2013, Sri Lanka recalled its envoy to Riyadh to protest against the beheading of a Sri Lankan maid convicted of murdering a child in her care in 2005 at a time when she herself was 17 years old.

Sri Lanka maintained she did not receive a fair trial and appeals for clemency were rejected.

Under the conservative kingdom’s strict Islamic sharia legal code, murder, armed robbery, rape, adultery, drug trafficking and apostasy are all punishable by death. (Hindustan Times)