State Try

July 21, 2007 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan minister has travelled to Saudi Arabia with the parents of a teenage housemaid to help prepare her appeal after she was condemned to death for murdering a four-month-old baby, a Sri Lankan diplomat said on Saturday. Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila arrived in the Saudi capital on Friday night with the parents of Rizana Nafeek. The 19-year-old was convicted of strangling her employer’s baby in 2005, Sri Lankan Ambassador Amj Sadiq told AFP.

“The minister’s week-long stay will include meetings with lawyers preparing Nafeek’s appeal and we will also try to arrange with the Saudi authorities for the parents to meet their daughter,” Sadiq said.

Lawyer Kateb al-Shammari earlier told AFP he was preparing a case to submit to an appeal court, which he must lodge by Sunday.

The Sri Lankan government said on Thursday that the visiting minister would plea for Nafeek’s life.

“We can appeal for clemency and we are prepared to meet any expense to spare her life,” Sri Lanka’s Media Minister Anura Yapa said.

More than a third of the 550,000 Sri Lankans living in the oil-rich kingdom work as domestic help and as drivers.

Executions are usually carried out in public in Saudi Arabia, which applies a