Rizana Nafeek

Rizana Nafeek is a Sri Lankan maid currently under sentence of death in Saudi Arabia. She has been found guilty of the murder of a 4 month old baby which had been left in her care while the parents had a night out.

The only evidence against her is her own confession, a confession which she has retracted. In fact since I've seen no mention of an autopsy, it would seem that the only evidence of a crime is her confession.

Rizana does not speak Arabic and the confession was obtained and written in a language she did not understand and at a time when she must have been in an extremely distressed state, not to mention feeling guilty because the baby did, after all, die whilst in her care.

The trial was held without legal representation and again in a foreign language.

Legal representatives were only obtained at the last minute before it would have been too late for an appeal. She is lucky to be alive today.

In Britain, uncorroborated confessions are no longer accepted in court as too often they've been shown to be wrong. Innocent people do confess to crimes for any number of reasons, but nearly always under duress.

This Amnesty International page has details and addresses of people to write to to protest this legalised murder.

25-Aug-2008: I have been unable to find any further news as to her fate since the appeal was launched. I like to think this means she is still alive but presumably in a Saudi jail. Perhaps the Saudis have done the decent thing and quietly shipped her home. Perhaps...