Saudi Arabia has criticized the reaction worldwide to its execution of a maid from Sri Lanka who was convicted of murdering the baby of her employer, according to a report from the SPA, the Saudi news agency.
A government spokesperson said that Riyadh deplored statements that have been made over the beheading of the Sri Lankan maid, who plotted and then killed a baby by suffocating him only a week after arriving in the Kingdom.
The maid, Rizana Nafeek, was beheaded last Wednesday. The case sparked condemnation worldwide, including from human rights groups that protested she was only 17 years old when the charges were brought against her back in 2005.
The court found Nafeek guilty of smothering the baby following an argument she had with the baby’s mother. The case created diplomatic problems between Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia. Sri Lanka recalled its Saudi Ambassador last week in protest of the beheading.
The Saudi government responded to the criticism by saying the woman’s passport said she had been 21 when arrested, adding that Saudi Arabia does not allow people who are minors to enter the country to work.
The government spokesman said they had tried to convince the parents of the baby to accept money, but the family rejected that or amnesty, insisting the maid must be executed.
Rights groups expressed dismay over the beheading and a representative from the European Union said it had urged the Saudi government to commute the woman’s death sentence.
Human Rights Watch announced that the woman had retracted her confession that had been made, in what she claimed, under duress.