.When Nafeek was first accused of killing, no translator was provided to explain to her what she was being charged with or what the consequences of an admission of guilt might be. As a newly arrived domestic servant from Sri Lanka, she did not speak Arabic. No lawyer was provided either but she was coerced into admitting guilt. This was used against her in the kangaroo courts that characterize the legal system in Saudi Arabia. In court she denied the charge and said she was coerced into admitting her guilt by threats from her employer.Ranjan Ramanayake, a Sri Lankan MP who campaigns for Sri Lankan workers abroad, described the Saudi government as “dictators” who would never execute Europeans or Americans, only Asians and Africans.
There have been many instances of Americans or Europeans being caught committing crimes but after a short jail sentence, they are released after calls from their government to the Saudi authorities. The harsh and cruel punishment is reserved for poor people from third world countries.As the case dragged on and it became increasingly clear that the heavily biased court would not listen to her side of the story, appeals for clemency were made to King Abdullah. Both Nafeek’s parents as well as the Sri Lankan government made appeals on separate occasions. The family hoped that the Saudi monarch would listen to the pleas to spare their daughter’s life who had gone to Saudi Arabia with high hopes of earning a livelihood and to provide for her desperately poor family back home.
Their hopes turned into nightmare when within weeks of her arrival in the kingdom, she was accused of murder.Why she would want to murder an infant was never explained although it was alleged that she had had an argument with the infant’s mother. This is an absurd allegation since domestic servants, especially from poor third world countries, are treated as slaves in Saudi Arabia. How could a 17-year-old dare to argue with her employer, especially when she had been in the kingdom only a few weeks? Her parents sent this poor girl to earn a living, only to be executed by beheading.