The Sri Lankan government is ready to pay the blood money to save Rizana Nafeek, the housemaid who was sentenced to death after a Saudi court found her guilty of killing a child in her care, the country's Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera told Arab News on Friday.
“We are aware of the complexity of Nafeek's case and we also respect the regulations of the host country,” said Perera, pointing out that only the parents of the dead infant can offer pardon to save Nafeek's life.
Nafeek claims the child choked to death during bottle feeding and that she tried to seek help. She also retracted her confession she said was made under duress.
Reacting to the ongoing protest in Sri Lanka calling for the release of Nafeek, the minister said his government has done all it could do to save her from execution. “Even the country’s president had appealed to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for clemency,” said Perera.
He pointed out that some people in his country were trying to politicize this case with ulterior motives, referring to the protests in front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo. “We must make our requests heard without hurting the Saudi authorities and the parents of the dead child,” Perera said.
According to a senior official at the Foreign Ministry in Colombo, the delegation would try to meet Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi, father of the dead infant, to request he give up his private right to see Nafeek executed as an act of compassion and come to a blood-money settlement.