Saudi Arabia to ‘reopen’ Sri Lankan maid adultery case

Colombo, Dec 8 (IANS) Saudi Arabia has agreed to re-open the case of a Sri Lankan woman who was sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery, Sri Lanka’s deputy of foreign minister Harsha De Silva said on Tuesday.

Silva informed parliament that through the government’s intervention, Saudi Arabia had agreed to re-open the case and would provide the woman with legal help, Xinhua news agency reported.

The woman — a 45-year-old mother of two — was sentenced by a Saudi Court in August after she had reportedly confessed before the court to have committed adultery with another Sri Lankan expatriate worker.

Her partner, also a Sri Lankan migrant worker, was given a lesser punishment of 100 lashes on account of being single.

The woman had been working in Saudi Arabia as a housemaid.

The Sri Lankan government had already appealed to the Saudi Arabian government to pardon the couple.

Protests were held outside the UN compound and the Saudi Embassy in capital Colombo last week against Saudi Arabia’s decision to stone the woman to death with protestors calling on the UN to remove Saudi Arabia from the chair of the UN Human Rights Council Panel.

Some protestors also urged the government to ban sending Sri Lankans for employment to the Arab nation.

Stoning, a form of execution where a group throws stones at a person buried waist or chest deep in the ground until he/she is dead, is still carried out in the Middle East.

In 2013, Saudi Arabia beheaded a young Sri Lankan housemaid for the killing of an infant left in her care, rejecting repeated appeals by Colombo against her death sentence.

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