Saudi Arabia is catching heat for beheading a Sri Lankan woman they found guilty of killing a baby in whose care a family placed.
Saudi Arabia on Sunday defended its execution of a Sri Lankan maid for the death of an infant in her care and hit back at international criticism of last week’s beheading.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia categorically rejects any interference in its affairs or in the provisions of its judiciary under any justifications,” a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency read.
Human rights groups and the Sri Lankan government had lobbied for leniency in the case of Rizana Nafeek, who was convicted of killing her employers’ son in 2005. The family said she strangled the boy, Kayed bin Nayef bin Jazyan al-Otaibi, after being asked to bottle-feed him, but Nafeek said the infant accidentally choked on milk.
She was executed Wednesday amid condemnation by human rights groups, the European Union and the United Nations. But in Sunday’s statement, the Saudis said complaints about her execution “draw on false information about the case and are issued without full knowledge of the circumstances of the case itself.”
The Saudi statement denied allegations by Nafeek’s advocates that she was a minor at the time of the boy’s death. Sri Lanka’s government said she was only 17 at the time. But the Saudi statement said her official passport showed she was 21 when the boy died.
“As it is universally recognized, the passport is an official document issued by her government,” the statement said. “Moreover, the legal regulations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia do not allow the recruitment of minors.”