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Human Rights Commissioner appalled by execution in Saudi Arabia

10.01.2013

Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement in Berlin today (10 January):

I am appalled by the execution of the Sri Lankan national Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia.
The fact that she was probably still a minor at the time of the crime makes this execution especially shocking. There is a clear ban under international law on passing the death penalty on crimes committed by children, and this also applies to Saudi Arabia.
I call on the Saudi Arabian Government to reconsider its position following this case, refrain from executing more individuals and ultimately abolish the death penalty.
We are vehemently opposed to the death penalty and will continue to campaign with our European partners for its worldwide abolition.

The housemaid Rizana Nafeek was arrested back in May 2005 and charged after a small child in her care died. At the time of the crime, Rizana Nafeek was probably a minor and in line with international standards should therefore not have been sentenced to death. The victim’s family repeatedly refused to accept a reprieve and the payment of blood money. The Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry confirmed the execution yesterday (9 January).

Right up until the last minute, the German Government and its European partners repeatedly called on the Saudi Arabian Government to seek another solution. At least 63 death sentences were carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012.

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