A brief announcement in the Saudi Gazette:
Saudi Arabia beheaded a Sri Lankan maid on Wednesday after she was convicted of murdering her employer’s baby, the Ministry of Interior announced.
Rizana Nafeek smothered the infant to death after an argument with the child’s mother, her employer, said the ministry in a statement carried by SPA.
She was beheaded in the Dawadmi province near Riyadh.
Oh yes, and there's this:
Nafeek who was only 17 when the incident occurred in 2005, had always maintained that the baby had choked to death when drinking from a bottle.
So, she was under age - international law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18 - and there are strong grounds for believing that she was innocent. She certainly never got anything approaching a fair trial:
On 22 May 2005, her employer's infant child died under Nafeek's care. Nafeek believed that the baby choked on a bottle by accident during feeding, but the baby's parents insisted that Nafeek was guilty of murder. Nafeek was at the time only 17 years old, but her passport was forged to mark the birth year as 1982, because minors were not allowed to work in Saudi Arabia.
No matter: off with her head.
She said that an initial confession was made under duress and without linguistic assistance. Supporters say that she also had no access to lawyers before her conviction.
Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have criticised the Saudi authorities for their handling of the case, as have campaigners in Sri Lanka, who argue that there were also serious translation problems at the time she confessed to the crime.
They argue that her reported execution breaches the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which Saudi Arabia has ratified.
We await - without holding our breath - some kind of sanction against the Saudis for this barbarity.