Sunday, January 13, 2013

The maids on Saudi Arabia's death row

The keepers of the most holy places in Islam continue to execute foreign domestics in the name of Allah on the flimsiest of charges in Islamic kangaroo courts.


The maids on Saudi Arabia's death row: Scores of foreign women facing execution for child abuse, witchcraft... and killing would-be rapists

    Human rights groups warn of the 'deadly risks' facing migrant workers
    Workers lured by wealthy families but face abuse and exploitation
    Migrants get little legal protection, with no access to lawyers or embassies
    'Justice system is characterised by arbitrary arrests and unfair trials'

By Alex Gore

PUBLISHED: 07:14 EST, 13 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:29 EST, 13 January 2013

Foreign workers are being warned of the 'deadly risks' they face in Saudi Arabia, with more than 45 maids awaiting execution despite growing anger at the country's mistreatment of migrants.

The death row prisoners include a domestic worker convicted of beating her employer to death when he allegedly tried to rape her.

On Wednesday, authorities in the Middle Eastern country ignored international pleas and beheaded maid Rizana Nafeek, 24, who was convicted of killing a baby despite protesting her innocence.

Human rights groups believe Indonesians account for the majority of the maids on death row and that there are Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Indians and Ethiopians also facing execution.

Campaigners say many of Saudi Arabia's 1.5 million migrant workers, around 375,000 of whom are Sri Lankan, are attracted to the country by the prospect of working for wealthy families but face exploitation and abuse.

This can range from months of hard work without pay to physical violence, in a country where legal protections are particularly weak, and access to lawyers, translators and embassies is often blocked.

Human Rights Watch's Nisha Varia told The Observer: 'The Saudi justice system is characterised by arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and harsh punishments. A domestic worker facing abuse or exploitation from her employer might run away and then be accused of theft.

'Employers may accuse domestic workers, especially those from Indonesia, of witchcraft. Victims of rape and sexual assault are at risk of being accused of adultery and fornication.'

Human rights group say 69 people were executed in Saudi Arabia last year and 79 the year before, including five women, one of whom was beheaded for witchcraft and sorcery.

Article continues HERE.