Resting Request

COLOMBO, Jan 10, 2013 (AFP) – Distraught family members of a Sri Lankan maid beheaded in Saudi Arabia have asked for her remains to be flown home, a family friend said Thursday, amid growing anger at the execution. The family of Rizana Nafeek was in shock after hearing of Wednesday’s beheading and was pleading with the authorities to bring back her body, said the friend, Abdul Jihad, in the eastern village of Muttur.

“The family is completely heartbroken,” Jihad, 46, told AFP. “They want Rizana’s body brought back, although we have been told that they have already buried her.”

Jihad, a science teacher at a local school who had taught Rizana, said Sri Lankan authorities had earlier raised the family’s hopes with repeated appeals for clemency, the latest over the weekend by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

“The villagers will pray for her tomorrow after the Friday prayers,” Jihad said, adding that Rizana had travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2005 to work as a housemaid when she was barely 17.

She had hoped to earn enough to build a house for her family, which lives in a makeshift home. “The mother is still in shock and her father is very ill and will be hospitalised soon,” he added.