Rizana Nafeek is a young Sri Lankan woman on whom the death sentence has been passed by the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia.
This young woman was sent to Saudi Arabia as a 17 year old in 2005 to work as a housemaid with a family. She comes from a modest home in a remote Muslim village in the East of our Country. Within a few weeks of her arrival in Saudi Arabia her employers had left her in sole charge of a four-month old baby. She had been bottle feeding the baby when the baby had choked. As an inexperienced young woman she obviously was unable to handle the situation and the infant died as a result of choking. A charge of murder was brought against her and she was found guilty. She has been in prison for the last five years awaiting a result of her appeal which has now been rejected by the Supreme Court, and her death sentence confirmed.
We are aware that the family of this young woman is confident that she did not intend to murder the baby in her care but that the baby died because this young maid had no experience or training in handling a situation of this nature. She was trained to be a housemaid not a nurse.
I consequently request all our churches, institutions, friends and partners to pray for the withdrawal of the death sentence on Rizana as well as for her release.
The Diocese has also requested the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and the Primate of the Episcopal Church of the United Sates to intervene in this tragic situation and to urge their respective governments to do so too.
With Peace and Blessings,
The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
03rd November 2010