The Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion Dilan Perera said in parliament yesterday that the King of Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended the implementation of the death penalty on Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek.
The Minister said that the King had no powers to acquit Rizana. However, the parents of the child can pardon her for the crime she was alleged to have committed.
Minister Dilan Perera said the government is discussing with Rizana's employers and the government is ready to offer a compensation to obtain freedom for the housemaid.
The under-aged Rizana Nafeek, the eldest daughter of a woodcutter from Muttur, arrived in Riyadh on 4 May, 2005, and worked as a housemaid in the Al-Otaibi household in Dawadami, 390 km west of the capital.
She is accused of murdering the son of the employer, a four month old baby boy. The incident took place on 22 May, 2005, while the accused maid was bottle-feeding the infant.
Rizana claims the baby accidentally choked while the parents claim she committed premeditated murder.