Woman Faces Death By Beheading In Saudi Arabia For Crime She 'Committed As A Child'

From the Daily Mail:
A young maid is facing death by beheading in Saudi Arabia for a crime she claims she did not commit.

Rizana Nafeek, who alleges she was a teenager at the time of the incident, was arrested in May 2005 on charges of murdering a four-month-old baby who was in her care.

The Sri-Lankan born maid denies murder and claims she desperately tried to save the child, who choked while she was looking after it.

The news comes just days after Indonesia announced it would ban women from travelling to the kingdom for domestic work after another maid was beheaded there.

Saudi Arabia has come under fire from human rights groups for the handling of Nafeek's case after it was revealed there had been a mix-up involving the year she was born in.

The authorities have her date of birth as 1982 however her birth certificate states she was born in 1988 - making her 17 at the time of the alleged incident.

If Saudi Arabia went ahead with the execution it would be in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it has ratified.

Human rights groups claim Nafeek had no legal representation before or during her trial.

Sri-Lankan born Nafeek's mother Rafeena said her daughter moved to the country so that she could send money home to help educate her three

Desperate for work she found a job as a domestic worker but was shocked when she was asked to look after a baby, Naif al-Quthaibi, because she believed she did not have the skills to care for him.

Just weeks into her employment tragedy struck and the infant choked while he was being fed.

Rafeena, who lives in a tiny village, has previously begged King Abdullah to pardon her daughter and asked him to allow her to return home.

According to the Sunday Express, earlier this week Indonesia banned its citizens from working in the oil-rich country after another maid was beheaded for murder.

Ruyati binti Sapub, 54, was executed after she confessed to killing her employer with a meat cleaver because of constant abuse.

The incident caused outrage and Saudi diplomats in Indonesia were forced to apologise for not informing them about the execution beforehand.

If Nafeek's execution goes ahead the now 23-year-old will dressed in a white robe and be marched into a packed town centre.

She will also be blindfolded, shackled and forced to kneel facing Mecca before she is prodded between the shoulders so her head is raised naturally.

Nafeek will then be executed, medieval style, with one sweep of a sharply-bladed sword.

Amnesty International has condemned the conviction and since revealed Nafeek was not allowed to produce her birth certificate which shows her true age during an appeal trial.

The charity's Middle East director Malcolm Smart said at the time: 'It would be outrageous if Rizana Nafeek were to be executed for this crime.

'It appears that she was herself a child at the time and there are real concerns about the fairness of her trial.'

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