ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 09

More Lankans enter death row

By Tharangani Perera

Two more Sri Lankans have been sentenced to death by Saudi authorities, while four Sri Lankan migrant workers are charged with the murder of a Yemeni national and may face the death penalty, a Foreign Ministry media spokesperson said. A Sri Lankan mother, Halemma Nissa Cader and K.M.S. Bandaranaike were recently condemned to death after they were found guilty of armed robbery and the murder of an old woman in Jeddah.

“The other four Sri Lankans currently facing trial in Saudi Arabia may be jailed or face a death sentence,” the spokesman told The Sunday Times. “The ministry is currently unable to verify if any of these Sri Lankans are being legally represented,” he said.
The Government confirmed that at least eight more Sri Lankans in Saudi Arabia are charged with various criminal offences.

Human rights organizations are accusing the Saudi authorities of not having followed acceptable judicial procedure to convict the two Sri Lankan nationals. The organization also claimed that the condemnation of the Sri Lankans, who had no legal advocacy, was based on confessions taken under duress. In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has urged the Government to sign agreements to ensure legal protection would be available to Sri Lankan migrant workers in West Asian countries.

It has said the signing of the International Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families would enable the United Nations to intervene in situations where Sri Lankans are charged with criminal offences and ensure their protection.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.