Housemaid sentenced to death for having an illicit affair – to be released soon

The woman of Sri Lankan origin whose death sentence for the crime of adultery had been changed to a less severe punishment by the Saudi government last December is all set to return to her home country sometime around the middle of next year, upon the completion of her jail term. This announcement was made by the SLBFE or Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment in Colombo, earlier this week. The sentence of death which had been imposed upon a Sri Lankan woman on the charges of adultery had been reduced to a prison term of three years, by the court of appeal in Al Dawadami back in December.[irp]

The 45-year-old woman, who was married and a mother of two, had been employed as a maid in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, had been found guilty of having an illegal affair with a Sri Lankan Bachelor and was subsequently sentenced to death in August, before her sentence was appealed and subsequently changed.  Her lover who had also been found guilty alongside the Sri Lankan maid had been sentenced to 100 lashes. As a direct result of the intervention of the Sri Lankan Government pleading a sympathetic reconsideration of the sentence given to the woman, the Saudi Authorities promptly commuted the death sentence to a sentence of a jail term of 3 years.

When she had been imprisoned, the Sri Lankan woman had already been behind bars for a time period of one and a half years. Hence, the Sri Lankan woman only has to serve a further 1-and-a-half-year jail term behind bars. The prison sentence of the Sri Lankan woman ends in June of next year. The spokesman for the SLBFE, Upul Deshapriya stated to the Arab News that they will make the complete arrangements to have the Sri Lankan woman brought back to her home country once she has completed her jail term in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Spokesman Deshapriya stated that the appeal against her sentence had been made by the Minister of Foreign Employment, Thalatha Athukorala.

Upon instructions from the Minister, the government, through the embassy located in Riyadh, lodged a formal appeal by hiring a lawyer in order to save the Sri Lankan national from her death sentence. The official stated that the Riyadh mission has been continuously looking after the best interests of the two Sri Lankan individuals who have been accused in the case. Officials have stated that all of the migrant workers working in foreign countries must be registered with the nearest divisional secretariat in order to obtain numerous benefits from the schemes the government has to offer. Despite this only 96000 out of the 1.7 million foreign workers have come forward to get registered with the concerned government authorities so far.[irp]

It is a compulsory requirement that all of the foreign workers of Sri Lankan nationality be registered with the SLBFE, who will then look after the best interests of all the workers working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. The SLBFE looks after the families of those women who have currently employed abroad; they repatriate the bodies of the workers from around the world back to their native land and also assist all the registered workers in any cases.

Source: Arab News

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