RIYADH, Feb 20, 2013 (AFP) – Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Colombo in a tit-for-tat move amid tensions after a Sri Lankan nanny convicted of murder was beheaded in the kingdom, the official SPA news agency reported. “Based on the decision by the Sri Lankan government to withdraw its ambassador from the kingdom, the (Saudi) foreign ministry has recalled its ambassador in Sri Lanka for consultations,” SPA reported late Tuesday quoting a ministry spokesman.
Tensions between both countries have been strained since the January 9 execution at a prison in Riyadh of Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafik, who was only 17 when she was charged with smothering a four-month-old baby in Saudi Arabia in 2005.
Nafik was found guilty of smothering the infant in her care after an argument with the child’s mother, the Saudi interior ministry said.
Last month, Sri Lanka’s Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced that women under 25 were now banned from going to Saudi Arabia to work as maids, adding that it was the first step towards a worldwide travel ban for low-paying jobs.
The United States and the United Nations have led international condemnation of the execution.
Rape, murder, apostasy, a