Mercy Plea

October 26, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has appealed for the king of Saudi Arabia to spare the life of a Sri Lankan housemaid convicted of killing an infant, his office said Tuesday. Rizana Nafeek, who was working in the Middle Eastern country, was found guilty of killing a four-month-old baby boy in her care in 2005.

The Saudi Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal against the verdict by the maid’s family.

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“President Mahinda Rajapakse wrote to King Abdullah …

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of Saudi Arabia seeking clemency for Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek,” his office said in a statement.

Nafeek, who was 17 at that time, has maintained that the death of the infant was an accident.

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She originally confessed to killing the baby, but later retracted her statement saying it had been made under duress.

Around 550,000 Sri Lankans live and work in oil-rich Saudi Arabia, many of them as domestic helpers or drivers. They are a key source of foreign currency for Sri Lanka.

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