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Saudi to stone Lankan housemaid to death for adultery. But partner gets 100 lashes.


A married Sri Lankan housemaid is to be stoned to death for adultery in Saudi Arabia, sparking outrage in the woman’s home country.

The unnamed maid, who has worked in the Saudi capital Riyadh since 2013, was convicted by a Saudi court in August after admitting to adultery.

Her partner, also a Sri Lankan migrant worker, was given a lesser punishment of 100 lashes as he was single.

The Sri Lankan government on Friday urged Saudi Arabia to pardon the maid.

“She has accepted the crime four times in the courts. But the Foreign Employment Bureau has hired lawyers and have appealed against the case,” Upul Deshapriya, spokesman for Sri Lanka’s Foreign Employment Bureau, told Reuters.

“The appeal is going on.  Also from the foreign ministry side, they are in negotiation with the Saudi government on a diplomatic level.”

Saudi Arabia follows Sharia Law, and is often criticised by human rights groups for the wide range of crimes such as adultery, drug smuggling and witchcraft which carry the death penalty.

Stoning, a form of execution where a group throws stones at a person buried waist or chest deep in the ground until they are dead, is still carried out in parts of the Muslim world.

In 2013, Saudi Arabia beheaded a young Sri Lankan housemaid for the killing of an infant left in her care, rejecting repeated appeals by Colombo against her death sentence.

Thousands of men and women from the Island travel to the Middle East every year to seek jobs as maids or drivers.

According to Lankan government data, 280,000 Sri Lankans went to work in Middle Eastern nations in 2014, generating over US$7 billion (£4.6 billion) in remittances, around 9 percent of total GDP.

Saudi Arabia, which is current chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council Panel, has executed over 150 people this year, mostly by public beheading, the most in 20 years, rights group Amnesty International said this month.

Foreigners, mostly guest workers from poor countries, are particularly vulnerable as they typically do not know Arabic and are denied adequate translation in court, Amnesty said.

Riyadh says it provides fair trials to all defendants.



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