By Latheef Farook
The execution of Sri Lankan housemaid, Rizana Nafeek, who was on death row at one of the most inhuman environments, a Saudi prison for almost seven years, is nothing but sheer barbarism of the tribal Saudis – the most oppressive regime on the planet.
The Saudis have nothing to do with Islam or Shariah. This is a mockery of Islam by a regime, which supported the invasion and destruction of Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia to name a few.
Saudi Arabia is of course the land of Islam. However, the brutal and autocratic regime that rules the kingdom has no right to speak of Islam and Shariah, in view of the un-Islamic nature of the extremely corrupt and degenerated Saudi family, which owns the land as their family property.
The unfortunate maid, Rizana, hails from a poverty-stricken family in Muttur.
She went to Saudi Arabia at the age of 17, a minor, to work as a maid and earn a pittance to tide over her family's economic difficulties. She reached Saudi Arabia on 1 April 2005 on a passport, in which her date of birth, 24 February 1988, was reported to have changed by her employment agent to 2 February 1982.
On arrival in Saudi Arabia, she worked at the house of Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al Otaibi, whose wife had a four-month-old baby boy. She was assigned to cooking, washing and looking after the infant. She maintained a good rapport with all in the household and there was no problem to speak of, at first.
Choking while feeding
The tragedy struck around 12:30 p.m. on 22 May 2005, while Rizana was bottle-feeding the infent, and noticed that milk was oozing through the mouth and nose of the infant. She tried to sooth the baby by stroking his throat, neck and face. She panicked when she saw the infant's eyelids had closed and shouted for help.
Doctors explained there could have been a block preventing the milk from going into the baby's stomach. It could also be assumed that when the milk oozed out, the child might have already passed away.
Around 1.30 p.m. the mother of the infant arrived home. On seeing the infant, she got into a rage and assaulted Rizana with slippers and took the infant away. Blood started oozing from Rizana's nose.
On 25 May, police arrested Rizana accusing her of murdering the infant. At the police station, she was severely beaten with a belt, demanding a confession that she strangled the infant and electrocuted. Obtaining such a forced statement is a complete violation of Shariah law. There was no one to talk to, let alone anyone to offer a word of comfort. Frightened Rizana placed her signature on the written paper given to her by the police.
According to reports, police failed to conduct a postmortem, to establish the cause of death of the infant. This is a serious lapse. It is not known whether the Saudi law firm, Khateb Al-Shammary, which represented Rizana, took up the issue of the postmortem.
Later, Rizana vehemently denied all allegations against her and retracted her confession when she stated in the Court on 3 February 2007 that her original confession was obtained by the police under duress. According to reports, Keralite, the person who took down her alleged confession, was not a competent interpreter. He was a sheep herder and was no longer in the country.
On 16 June 2007, the High Court sentenced Rizana to death by beheading, simply based on the police report obtained under duress. This verdict, in complete violation of Shariaw laws, was upheld by the so called Supreme Court on October 2010.
In sentencing her to death, the High Court and the Supreme Court overlooked the most important fact – the absence of a postmortem report – the scientific evidence of the cause of death. Under such circumstance, the question is whether Saudi Arabia, which is not governed by Shariah laws, can try Rizana under Shariah laws with so many flaws in its legal system.
Today's Saudi Arabia was created in the aftermath of the World War I and Riyadh-based tribal chief Abdul Aziz Ibn Al Saud was placed in power, in return for his support to topple Turkey's Ottoman – one of the greatest Muslim empires in Islamic history. Since then, it has been governed by the Al Saud tribe – according to the tribal system, which has nothing to do with Islam.
No royal family
Over the years, tribe turned itself into a royal family, a concept alien to Islam. In Islam, there are no royal families. Thus, the system of government, administration of justice, economic structure, and distribution of wealth, overall society and all other aspects of life have been based on mediaeval tribalism and not on Islam. Under such a system, power, positions, wealth and almost everything remain the hereditary right of the ruling family, which is above law. This in itself is a complete violation of Islam. People as a whole are treated as virtual slaves.
Known for their stinking corruption, shameful lifestyle displaying God given wealth, suppression of freedom given by Islam to all, including women, their collaboration with the evil agendas of the West, against Islam and Muslims, depositing the wealth given by Allah in the West, failure to help the Muslims worldwide, creating conflicts among Muslims and so many other factors made the ruling family a source of embarrassment to Islam.
Arbitrary arrests, detention and torture have been common and Shariah laws were merely exploited to advance their tyranny.
Now the question is whether such an oppressive regime can try Rizana under Shariah law. In fact, even in employing Rizana as a maid violates Shariah laws as Islam permits women to take up jobs under certain conditions, which were openly flouted by the Saudi authorities and Rizana's sponsor himself.
In his letter to Jeddah-based English language daily 'Arab News,' Engineer Ismail Marikkar from Sri Lanka raised the following pertinent questions;
I was simply shocked and as a Muslim was ashamed when I read the death sentence of Rizana. It is a miscarriage of justice. I appeal to the judicial authorities to refer this case to the Permanent Committee of Higher Scholars for review and a final decision.
1. Is it not a requirement in Islam for the mother to breast-feed the child and the period is two years? Did this mother fulfil her duty? It is a right of the child as stated in Quran;
"And the mothers are to suckle their infants for two years, for those who wish to complete the suckling" (Surah Baqarah 2:233). The mother has failed in her duty to the baby.
2. How could she entrust the care of her little child to a young uneducated 'teenager' from a foreign country, and a very remote area, where they do not even see feeding bottles? The mother always fed the child.
3. Some have expressed the opinion that Rizana has not expressed remorse or asked for pardon.
Well, that it is in itself a clear indication that this was not intentional murder. Just tell me why this girl, a few days after arriving, kills a child entrusted to her care, unless she was 'insane,' in which case, she is not guilty. Rizana was made to sign a confession under duress, which is not acceptable under any law. Shariah is very clear on this.
Well, the death sentence is the punishment, but there is also the option of paying blood money. But Allah says it would be good to pardon. The death of this child in this manner at this time is the Qadr of Allah. This is a fundamental of our faith. This child can never be brought to life by killing the maid. They are refusing blood money. Well they want revenge. To forgive is an attribute of Allah. In fact, there is a hadith about the reward awaiting those who forgave for the sake of Allah.
My advice is to forgive and be patient. These are virtuous acts earning divine reward.
This principle is intrinsically related to the maxim observed by the Divine Law in both civil and criminal cases: That innocence and freedom from accountability is to be assumed unless proven otherwise. Allah's Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) made this clear when he said: "Do not carry out the prescribed punishments when there is doubt."
Describing Rizana's conviction as an abomination and demanding she should be released immediately and offered an apology, F.A. Munas, MD, from the United States had this to say;
"As most objective people would agree, Rizana was unlikely to have murdered the infant. What motive would she have? Rizana had no time to develop any antipathy for her employer's family. The infant seems to have died of natural causes such as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or an unfortunate occurrence during feeding due to a possible congenital swallowing malformation. These conditions are not uncommon in that age group. No autopsy of the deceased infant was ever conducted by the Saudi authorities. By any reckoning, the benefit of a doubt should go to the accused.
"The outrageous murder conviction and the pending public execution by beheading of Rizana Nafeek by Saudi Arabian authorities is an affront to humans the world over. The brutality of this action is quite mind-boggling. As a matter of commonsense, it is utterly hypocritical for the Saudi Government to sign an international agreement not to execute individuals who were minors when the alleged capital offense was committed, and then renege on the pledge by citing 'Shariah rules.'
"It would be outrageous if Rizana Nafeek were to be executed as it appears that she was herself a child at the time; and there are real concerns about the fairness of her trial," Amnesty International's Middle East Director, Malcolm Smart said.
On 14 June 2011, one of the parents was kind enough to pardon Rizana. However, both parents need to pardon, if Rizana was to be acquitted.
On the other hand, the Saudi Shariah needs six years to sentence a girl to death on the basis of a statement obtained under duress.
Imagine the mental frame of a young girl for the past seven years in an unknown country, and that too in a jail, awaiting to be beheaded. The mere thought of awaiting death in a lonely cell is certainly enough to cripple even the strongest of men. So, think about the plight of Rizana, who could have been dying minute after minute during the past six years.
Is this Islam? This is mockery of Islam and Shariah!
Isn't it time that Muslims worldwide think of liberating Islamic holy land from the tyranny of the mediaeval Saudi family?